Marine Planning Partnership complete

  • May. 19, 2015 7:00 p.m.

By Stacey MarpleHaida Gwaii ObserverLeaders from the North Pacific Coast First Nations and the provincial government announced the completion of plans for the Marine Planning Partnership (MaPP) last week. Council of the Haida Nation President Peter Lantin was among 17 other First Nations leaders present for the historic event in Victoria.”The Marine plans are a significant step forward in protecting the oceans around us for future generations and ensuring sustainable use,” he said. “The ocean around us is experiencing many threats including marine development, climate change and unprecedented change in productivity of fisheries. The marine plan provides a blueprint for adapting to these changes.”The marine plans are to be an extension of the 2007 coastal land use plan that has become known as the Great Bear Rainforest agreement. The four regions are Haida Gwaii, Central Coast, North Coast and North Vancouver Island, but they do not attempt to intrude on the key federal jurisdictions of shipping and fisheries management.The MaPP plans provide recommendations for key areas of marine management, including uses, activities and protection, which will inform the decision-making process regarding the sustainable economic development and stewardship of coastal marine environments in the plan areas extending from Haida Gwaii to Campbell River. First Nation leaders said they were proceeding with B.C. and environmental organizations, but the federal government has not participated. After a scheduled press event opened with First Nation’s singing and drumming, Mr. Lantin told the crowd the marine plans for the waters around Haida Gwaii sets aside 20 per cent as a marine reserve. Discussions with Ottawa are underway to add more area around Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve. But he added with pipeline proposals and oil and gas projects in the region, the plans are far from complete. “When we embarked on this journey a decade ago, the whole intent was to be comprehensive marine planning, which involves everything,” Mr. Lantin said. “So as the environment’s changed over the last 10 years around these federal jurisdiction issues, we’ve seen them not want to be part of this process.”The Province and First Nations have been conducting resource planning in this area for many years, and extending this collaborative relationship to marine and coastal areas will help provide a consistent approach to resource management in the entire region. The partners are now focused on drafting implementation agreements for future action. Doug Neasloss, representative of the Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance, thanked Tides Canada and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, a San Francisco-based environmental charity started by a co-founder of Intel Corp., for continuing to support the establishment of protected areas on the B.C. coast.U.S. donors working through the Tides Foundation put up $60 million in 2007 to participate in the Great Bear Rainforest land use agreement. B.C. and the federal government put up $30 million each.

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