Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

December 12, 2008 18:17 ET

Pacific North Coast Collaborative Oceans Governance MOU Signed by Coastal First Nations and Canada

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 12, 2008) - The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, yesterday announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on collaborative oceans governance between Department of Fisheries and Oceans and coastal First Nations.

"This is an exciting day for the Government of Canada and coastal First Nations," said Minister Shea. "With the signing of this important document, we have taken a significant step toward developing an integrated oceans management plan for the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (PNCIMA) that will guide the sustainable development of the area and benefit users and coastal communities."

The MOU outlines a "PNCIMA Model", including a proposed method of governing and support for PNCIMA initiatives within the area. It also calls for the establishment of a steering committee and secretariat to guide and support future planning efforts and the involvement of all those with a vested interest in PNCIMA. In addition, the MOU sets out the expectation that DFO and the First Nations of the Pacific North Coast (Coastal First Nations (CFN)), and the North Coast Skeena First Nations' Stewardship Society (NCSFNSS), will work together on integrated ocean planning in the area.

"The (PNCIMA) collaborative governance model ensures the meaningful participation of First Nations in the development of management plans for marine use," stated Art Sterritt, executive director of CFN. "The model allows First Nations to collaborate with government and to work with stakeholders to address our community interests and advance a marine use plan that provides for environmental sustainability and the economic well-being of our people."

Bruce Watkinson, executive director of NCSFNSS said the (PNCIMA) model will help to restore and conserve some of the most biologically diverse and pristine oceans in the world, situated in British Columbia, stating: "The Stewardship Society's leadership and communities believe that maintaining, restoring and improving coastal ecosystems is crucial if we are to be self-sustaining."

DFO has a mandate through the Oceans Act to lead the development of an integrated oceans management plan in Canada in collaboration with other interested parties, and to promote stewardship and public awareness within the PNCIMA Large Ocean Management Area. PNCIMA is located on the central and north coast area of British Columbia.

Under Canada's Ocean Strategy, Large Oceans Management Areas (LOMA) are identified for integrated oceans management. Five priority LOMAs have been identified, with PNCIMA being the first priority for action in the Pacific Region.

Editor's Note: A photo for this release will be available via Marketwire on the picture wire of The Canadian Press.


Contact Information

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada - Pacific Region
    Hannah R. Mahoney
    Communications Advisor
    (604) 666-7120
    Coastal First Nations
    Art Sterritt
    Executive Director
    (604) 868-9110
    North Coast Skeena First Nations' Stewardship Society
    Bruce Watkinson
    Executive Director
    (250) 627-8614