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Moving Toward Spatial Solutions in Marine Conservation with Indigenous Communities

Natalie C Ban, Project Seahorse; University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre
Chris Picard, Gitga’at Development Corporation
Amanda C.J. Vincent, Project Seahorse; University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre

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Abstract

Community and resource user support has often been declared as essential to achieving globally agreed targets for marine protection. Given that indigenous people in Canada have resource use rights, we engaged two indigenous communities in British Columbia for their views on marine planning and protected areas. We developed a three-phased approach for executing our research: building research partnerships, carrying out individual interviews, and holding community discussion sessions. Participants expressed a common goal of recovering depleted species and ensuring the sustainability of indigenous fishing. We found strong support for spatial protection measures, and significant overlaps amongst participants in the areas suggested for protection. The most common type of protection recommended by participants was the exclusion of commercial and recreational fisheries while allowing for indigenous fishing; this stands in contrast to the emphasis on strict no-take MPAs advocated in the literature. Similarities in the goal, and level and areas of protection point to a gap in conservation approaches: the conservation of important areas and resources to indigenous people, allowing the continued practice and adaptation of their culture.

Key words

aboriginal fisheries; British Columbia; Canada; commercial fisheries; community-based conservation; indigenous communities; marine conservation; marine protected areas
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087