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 achievement.it 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

New school bus ready to go at Chief Matthews Elementary

Students at Chief Matthews Elementary cheered today as a woven cedar rope… Continue reading

Shakeout drill set to test Haida Gwaii earthquake plans

Several schools and public organizations set to join 10:18 a.m. earthquake drill today

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

Gudangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay powers up with solar panels and Tesla battery packs

Solar power got another big boost on Haida Gwaii last week, with… Continue reading

B.C. NDP retreats again on empty-home tax for urban areas

Rate reduced for all Canadians, dissident mayors to get annual meeting

Jets score 3 late goals to beat Canucks 4-1

Winnipeg ends three-game Vancouver win streak

Two B.C. cannabis dispensaries raided on legalization day

Port Alberni dispensaries ticketed for “unlawful sale” of cannabis

Canada not sending anyone to Saudi business summit

Sources insist Ottawa never intended to dispatch a delegation this time around

Earthquake early-warning sensors installed off coast of B.C.

The first-of-its kind warning sensors are developed by Ocean Networks Canada

VPD ordered to co-operate with B.C. police watchdog probe

According to the IIO, a court is ordering Vancouver police to co-operate with an investigation into a fatal shooting

B.C. woman looks to reduce stigma surrounding weed-smoking moms

Shannon Chiarenza, a Vancouver mom of two, started weedmama.ca to act as a guide for newcomers to legal cannabis, specifically mothers

B.C. teen gives away tickets to Ellen Degeneres show, plans O Canada welcome

The Grade 9 student wanted to give away tickets in the spirit of inclusivity

Most Read