Marine planning has a long history on the BC coast. Recognizing the importance of planning ocean activities for long-term sustainability, First Nations and the government of BC have developed numerous marine plans over the past few decades. The Marine Planning Partnership (MaPP) on the northern Pacific coast – a partnership between 17 First Nations and the BC government – is a unique example of marine spatial planning and co-governance that should help ensure that this part of the coast is managed sustainably.
The precedent-setting MaPP planning process involved consultation with community members, scientists, industry, and environmental advocates on ecosystem-based management (EBM) for the entire sea. EBM differs from sector-based resource management by developing management strategies for entire ecosystems – and it treats humans as an integral part of those ecosystems.
Through the MaPP process, the BC government and 17 First Nations divided the central and north coast into management zones. They consulted community members, scientists, industry and environmental advocates on ecosystem-based management and the types of activities that should be permitted in the zones.
The plans contain management directions for a wide range of marine uses and activities under provincial jurisdiction, including monitoring and enforcement; pollution; tenured developments such as docks, log storage areas and floating lodges; traditional and cultural resources; tourism and recreation; and the marine fisheries economy. The plans also reflect Indigenous laws, values and traditions.
With full implementation using Canadian and Indigenous law, the MaPP plans will strengthen protection for the Great Bear Sea and serve as a model for other ocean planning initiatives in BC. West Coast is working to give the plans legal traction for long-lasting, enforceable results.