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Haida Marine Planning: First Nations as a Partner in Marine Conservation

Russ Jones, Haida Fisheries Program
Catherine Rigg, Haida Fisheries Program
Lynn Lee, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University

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Abstract

The Haida Nation is involved in an integrated marine planning initiative in northern British Columbia, Canada. The Haida continue to occupy traditional territory in and around Haida Gwaii, or the Queen Charlotte Islands, and are engaged in a larger planning process for the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (PNCIMA). This initiative is in the early planning stage, focused on capacity building and creating enabling conditions for co-governance. Court decisions, government policies, and a modern treaty process are driving short- and long-term efforts to resolve issues of Aboriginal ownership and resource access, both on land and in the ocean. As a result, the PNCIMA process is being led by two levels of government, First Nations and federal, reflecting changing perceptions of Aboriginal title and rights in British Columbia. The Haida have been resource owners and managers on Haida Gwaii for millennia, and continue to apply traditional knowledge and experience to marine-use planning and fisheries management. The Haida approach is place based and guided by fundamental Haida ethics and values such as respect, balance, and reciprocity. We describe these values and discuss the emerging role of First Nations in integrated oceans management in the context of the six themes: lessons from land-use planning; the PNCIMA governance structure; the relationship of values to planning outcomes; developing an ecosystem-based management framework; applications of traditional knowledge, based on a study of Haida marine traditional knowledge currently in progress; and linking marine planning at various scales. On Haida Gwaii, collaborative marine planning is expected to result in improved protection of Haida Gwaii waters for future generations, greater Haida participation in management decisions, and increasing emphasis on sustainability of both local fisheries and communities.

Key words

Aboriginal rights; fisheries management; indigenous peoples; integrated coastal management; marine planning; oceans governance
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087