Kitasoo Xai’xais Territory, Klemtu, BC – Coastal First Nations are unified and resolved to move forward together to implement the Marine Protected Area (MPA) Network. In the spirit of collaboration we celebrate the announcement of the new Gitdisdzu Lugyeks (Kitasu Bay) Marine Protected Area.
The Gitdisdzu Lugyeks (Kitasu Bay) MPA is a robust science-based management plan for Kitasu Bay. It integrates Kitasoo Xai’xais’ deep ecological and local knowledge, coupled with the best scientific expertise including advice from Canada’s national Science Advisory Council.
We stand with the Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation as they work to build a world-leading conservation and management plan that safeguards the long-term health of their community breadbasket, and as they reach out and consult with all users who will benefit from better management of coastal resources.
As Coastal First Nations, we are committed to a collaborative process to establish a globally significant MPA Network in the Northern Shelf Bioregion. We have met recently with our Federal and Provincial Government partners and collectively recommitted to delivering this significant step forward for marine conservation and management on the coast. We will work together to restore abundance, protect biodiversity, create new jobs and sustain economies, and promote healthy and resilient communities. The new Gitdisdzu Lugyeks (Kitasu Bay) MPA is an important step towards realizing these outcomes.
The MPA Network will benefit everyone who calls this coast home, and create a foundation for the health of key species, from salmon and whales, to halibut, herring and eulachon. The MPA Network will be greater than the sum of its parts, strengthening conservation, increasing abundance, and improving management of the coast.
Our Nations have been hard at work for many years on technical and feasibility studies, resource mapping and stakeholder engagement, to develop the local marine spatial plans that inform the MPA Network. We are making progress in this work with our partners, but not quickly enough.
Our communities are growing alarmed as we witness the decline of essential marine resources we depend on for food and for our culture. Against this backdrop, the Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation is leading the way towards better conservation and sustainable stewardship of marine resources that all coastal communities depend on.
We believe the new Gitdisdzu Lugyeks (Kitasu Bay) MPA can become a working model for coastal conservation, and we note that many of our Nations are now preparing management and conservation plans in their territories.
In the coming months, we look forward to taking further meaningful steps towards conservation, stewardship, and durable financing, alongside our partners, on the path to full implementation of the Marine Protected Area Network.
CEO, Coastal First Nations
Chief Marilyn Slett
President, Coastal First Nations