A New Approach to Managing Shipping

It’s time for a better approach to managing regional shipping traffic. First Nations want a new shipping plan and a greater say in how shipping traffic and emergency response are managed in our waters.

For years, First Nations have watched shipping increase along the central and north Pacific coast, with little consideration for the health and safety of our communities and marine territories.

Few areas in Canada have greater cultural and ecological sensitivity than the First Nations Traditional Territories of the Great Bear Rainforest. Our communities have concerns about the growing and cumulative impacts from existing shipping traffic in our waters.

They pose a threat to First Nations cultures, economies and coastal ecosystems. ​​​​​​​

Reconciliation with Canada: First Nations Shipping, Marine Safety and Oceans Protection Table

The Reconciliation Process

Coastal First Nations is working with regional First Nations organizations to seek community approval to establish a Shipping, Marine Safety, and Ocean Protection Reconciliation Table. This process will put First Nations on a government-to-government basis with Canada in collaborative decision-making on regional shipping management.

What do we Hope to Achieve?

Develop a Nation-to-Nation Relationship

Between First Nations and Canada on regional shipping governance and management to ensure First Nations:

  • Play a meaningful role in managing and overseeing commercial shipping traffic in our territories
  • Are at the table as governments in shipping management and emergency planning
  • Have representation on the Incident Command team when marine accidents happen and receive real-time information as emergencies unfold

Develop a Regional Shipping Management Plan

That is aligned with First Nations marine use plans to:

  • Promote safety and sustainability for communities
  • Identify the best shipping routes and anchorages in our waters, and set out areas to be avoided

Strengthen Emergency Preparedness and Response Capacity

Increase marine safety and emergency response capacity in communities, and strengthen First Nations’ role in managing emergencies.

  • Create community jobs and training in emergency response
  • Ensure First Nations have a greater say when accidents or spills happen
  • Station a large rescue tug and other vessels in the region
  • Establish more emergency response centres and equipment
  • Ensure meaningful community involvement in emergency response planning

Safeguard First Nations cultural and ecological values

Ensure the long-term health of marine ecosystems and protect important First Nations cultural, economic and community values.

  • Bring together Traditional Knowledge and science to manage our waters
  • Seek better compensation if spills damage cultural and natural resources
  • Reduce pollution from vessels
  • Protect whales and other marine life