Vancouver, British Columbia – The blueprint for a vast network of marine protected areas (MPAs) across the northern third of Canada’s West Coast is being unveiled after more than a decade of work. Today, 15 First Nations, the Government of Canada, and the Government of British Columbia (B.C.) are jointly announcing the endorsement of the Marine Protected Area Network Action Plan (the Action Plan) for the Northern Shelf Bioregion (NSB).
The Action Plan is a model of collaborative governance and provides a planned approach to the establishment of new MPAs in the NSB. It includes a proposed design for the network, and recommendations for potential designation tools, conservation objectives and implementation timelines for the protection of future sites. The completion of the Action Plan represents the output of a truly collaborative partnership by Indigenous governments, the Province of British Columbia, and the Government of Canada working closely with industry and community stakeholders. The process has been guided by Indigenous knowledge and robust science to inform the identification of sites and their ecological and cultural conservation objectives.
In addition to endorsing the Action Plan, the partners will work together to advance the establishment of a sustainable conservation finance arrangement – using the internationally recognized Project Finance for Permanence (PFP) model to support long-term funding for ongoing network implementation, management and stewardship.
First Nations on the Pacific North Coast have been stewards of the lands and waters for more than 14,000 years and are deeply committed to protecting the rich diversity of marine life as well as traditional practices and wellbeing, while supporting a healthy local economy for all. The Government of Canada is working with First Nations, the Province of British Columbia and partners to conserve 25 per cent of Canada’s oceans by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2030. This collaboratively developed Action Plan is a meaningful contribution to achieving these goals and targets.
The Action Plan will guide joint efforts to protect our oceans and their marine wildlife and environments. It will also demonstrate how collaboration between First Nations, federal and provincial governments, citizens and stakeholders can achieve resilient and healthy ecosystems that are necessary to support sustainable industries, prosperous economies and healthy communities.