Marine use plan ready to go public (almost)

  • Oct. 7, 2013 9:00 a.m.

The Haida Gwaii Marine Use Plan, in the works for many years, is going to be made public at a series of open houses and public meetings later this fall. Berry Wijdeven and Catherine Rigg, representing the province and the Council of the Haida Nation respectively, made a presentation on the plan to the Protocol group when it met Oct. 1 in Masset. Once adopted, the plan will establish guidelines for marine activities in all Haida Gwaii waters, and regulate commercial and sports fishing, banning it in some areas, limiting it in others, leaving it untouched in yet others. The plan is being carried out by the CHN, and the governments of BC and Canada, and is moving to stakeholder consultations shortly, before being made public. The plan is likely to be controversial. On Oct 1 in Masset, several people expressed concerns. Evan Putterill of Sandspit said the deadline was coming up quite soon, after years of work, possibly not leaving enough time for input, and Bret Johnson of Masset said the plan could put him out of business as a sports fishing charterer. The draft plan is expected to be made public for input between mid-November and January, with a revised plan set to come out early next year. Then, in the spring, the plan will go to the CHN, the province and the feds for comments, with ratification expected in June. The plan is not static, but can be changed after it’s in place, Ms Rigg told the meeting, while Mr. Wijdeven said that any provisions dealing with fish will likely not be implemented right away, since DFO is involved. “Anything to do with fish will probably take years and years to make…a reality,” he said.