Minister visits, celebrates marine park’s creation

  • Jun. 14, 2010 8:00 p.m.

It was a low key celebration, but it was definitely a celebration. About 80 islanders gathered Sunday evening at the Haida Heritage Centre in Skidegate to celebrate the creation of the Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, to give it its full name. It’s been a long time in the making, but by later this week, when the federal Treasury Board gives the nod, the marine area will be legally protected, for once and for all.Late last week, the Parliament in Ottawa agreed to expedite the protection, and Environment Minister Jim Prentice, on the islands for a couple of days over the weekend, called it a milestone. “This week in the House of Commons all the parties agreed to expedite the creation of the marine conservation area. It was for me one of the most moving moments, to see unanimity in the House for this marine conservation area,” Mr. Prentice told those attending in Skidegate. He said everyone who has fought for the protection should be very proud, and there is a great cause for celebration in the community.”It happened because the Haida Nation fought to make it happen. It was created because the Haida Nation fought to protect not only the lands but the ocean,” Mr. Prentice said, “this is the first time that this has happened on the planet, to protect an area from the depths of the oceans to the tips of the mountains.” The marine protected area covers 1,500 square kilometres. When added to the 3,500 square kilometres of land already protected in Gwaii Haanas, it gives a total of 5,000 square kilometres. But it’s not just about area. It’s the first time anywhere in the world an ecosystem has been protected from mountaintop to sea floor.”It’s extraordinary,” the minister said, this is an international is an incredible accomplishment for Canadians.”The newly protected area will be jointly managed by Ottawa through the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Haida. That’s a landmark as well.Mr. Prentice said there will be a lot of work yet to come on the management side, but the area is an important ecosystem and “it is going to be well-managed”.”It is going to be a real important piece about turning around our attitudes to the oceans,” CHN President Guujaaw said, “I know there are lots of people in this room that have worked hard on this. We are still getting some resistance from the fishing industry. Not the islands fishing industry, but the fishing industry from off island”.Guujaaw also thanked the minister for his role, as well as all the other people, in the room or not, who worked for the protection.Trying to protect the waters around Gwaii Haanas has been ongoing for the better part of 25 years. This week, it will become be a reality.

Just Posted

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

Millennium Memorial Park a birders’ paradise

Findings by the Delkatla Sanctuary Society has given birdwatchers more reason to… Continue reading

Major upgrades needed for Port sewage lagoon

Engineering firm itemizes shortcomings for provincial and federal standards

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 5: Recap

Highlights and results from day 5 at the All Native Tournament

VIDEO: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

Flying squirrels found to glow pink in the dark, including two from B.C.

Squirrels from Hope and Abbotsford were included in the biologists’ database

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Wilson-Raybould resignation stokes anger, frustration within veterans community

Liberals have had three veterans-affairs ministers — Kent Hehr, Seamus O’Regan and Wilson-Raybould

No Center of Gravity festival in Kelowna this summer: organizers

COG organizers said the hope is to return to the Okanagan in 2020

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Most Read