What does it look like?

Coastal First Nations have carefully managed the marine areas of our Traditional Territories for millennia. We have brought this vision, experience and Traditional Knowledge to the leadership of modern marine use planning processes on the Pacific north coast.

In British Columbia, First Nations have been leaders in a collaborative marine use planning process; one that has brought together Indigenous, provincial and federal governments, and stakeholders to decide the best use of ocean resources.

First Nations have led development of marine use plans at the community and regional level for the Central and North Coast, and Haida Gwaii. These plans guide the development of sustainable economic opportunities while considering impacts on coastal ecosystems and communities.

Coastal First Nations community marine use plans include:​​​​​​​

  • A community vision for our marine territory
  • Cultural values and perspectives on ocean resources
  • Goals and strategies for managing ocean resources
  • Special First Nations protection for specific areas
Marine Use Planning - Everything is Connected

Marine Planning for Healthy Ecosystems

First Nations’ marine use plans also work to ensure long-term protection of the marine environment. Like other coastal systems around the globe, our traditional waters are facing enormous pressures from:

  • Declining fish stocks and ocean biodiversity.
  • Climate change impacts.
  • Threats from potential offshore oil and gas developments.
  • Overfishing impacts on traditional food harvesting.
  • Risks of spills and pollution from potential crude oil tanker traffic.

By planning for a healthy ocean future, Coastal First Nations are working to address these threats in order to:

  • Conserve and protect coastal ecosystems, and their ability to provide services for coastal communities.
  • Support sustainable economic opportunity.
  • Where necessary, restore coastal ecosystems.
Protecting Salmon: Building Our Future

Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science

Coastal First Nations people have managed our coastal areas for thousands of years–stewardship experience that we bring to marine planning.

Like land-use and urban planning, marine planning helps inform and guide decision-making to maintain the marine ecosystem and the services it provides for future generations.

By combining First Nations Traditional Knowledge with cutting-edge marine science, our communities are putting in place plans that will:

  • Help resolve conflict between marine users and provide stability for our region
  • Protect Aboriginal Rights and Title in our Traditional Territories
  • Safeguard our ocean resources
  • Support a conservation-based economy into the future
  • Build capacity in our communities in governance, monitoring and sustainable marine industries

Marine Planning Processes

Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (PNCIMA)

In 2008, Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative signed an agreement with the federal government to work collaboratively on the development of a marine planning process for the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (PNCIMA). In 2010, the Province of BC joined the agreement, making it a tri-partite process. In 2017, PNCIMA received full endorsement by First Nations, Canada and British Columbia. Learn more

Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast (MaPP)

In 2015, First Nations and the Province of BC signed marine plans through the Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast (MaPP). To manage competing demands for ocean use, First Nations created local and regional marine use plans for the Central and North Coast, and Haida Gwaii, and North Vancouver Island. Learn more

Northern Shelf Bioregion Marine Protected Area Network

Seventeen First Nations, Canada and British Columbia are working to develop a process to establish a Marine Protected Area network in our traditional waters through the Northern Shelf Bio-Region Marine Protected Area Network planning process. Learn more​​​​​​​