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Marine Use Planning

Integrated marine use planning refers to a collaborative planning process that brings together stakeholders, governments, and First Nations to reach general agreement on sustainable resource use in marine areas. The greatest challenge facing the coastal First Nations is the development of a new conservation-based economy on BC’s North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii. To achieve harmony between economic development and conservation there must be recognition of the inextricable link between economic and ecological sustainability. It is not possible to achieve one without the other.

Similar to land use plans, integrated marine use plans will work to blend the intellectual and scientific expertise of the modern world, with the deep and ancient wisdom of traditional cultures. This blend of ancient wisdom and scientific knowledge will culminate in a plan that reflects how First Nations have managed their lands and resources for thousands of years. In modern terms this is defined as an ecosystem based approach to resource management.

Community integrated marine use plans may include:

  • A community vision for the marine territory;
  • Values and perspectives on ocean resources;
  • Goals, objectives and strategies for management of ocean resources and uses; and
  • Special First Nation protection for specific areas.

 Marine use plans may also deal with a variety of other topics and issues as determined by each community.

How Marine Use Planning will occur

Communities will be the driving force behind the process. Currently each First Nations community or group of First Nations is in the process of establishing local planning processes which include the establishment of planning teams and in some cases community coordinator. The community planning team will be instrumental in guiding the development of integrated marine use plans in each community. Planning teams may include elders, hereditary chiefs, commercial fishermen, band council members, and other community members. Community coordinators have been selected for most First Nations communities to work closely with leadership, community fisheries groups, and boards to develop community values and interests on local issues. Key duties of the community coordinator will also include coordinating community planning team meetings, compiling and organizing community information related to marine resources, and raising awareness for integrated marine use planning in the community.

In addition, to support the work of community coordinators and community planning teams, area technical teams have been established for the Central and North Coast and Haida Gwaii. Each team is made up of a biologist/coastal planner and a socioeconomic planner. The area technical team’s main function is to provide ongoing technical support for community planning process. Area technical teams will work with community coordinators to gather an analyze information that will assist community planning teams with their decision making process.