Gitga’at Marine Use Planning Pilot Project

In 2002 the Gitga’at initiated a multi-year marine use planning project involving various partners including the World Wildlife Fund’s Northeast Pacific Region. The goal of this project is to explore and work to implement conservation-based marine use planning in Gitga’at Territory. Objectives of the project are to:

  • Collect, organize and produce information that will contribute to the development of a Gitga’at marine use plan that includes protected areas and precautionary habitat and stock management strategies.
  • Increase the capacity among the Gitga’at community to steward local marine resources and engage in proactive marine use planning.
  • ·Increase understanding of the problems and benefits associated with marine use and marine protected area planning within a First Nations territory on the North Coast.

The Gitga’at Marine Use Plan

The Gitga’at marine use plan will be ecosystem-based, and will designate various marine areas in Gitga’at Territory to different categories of utilization. The Gitga’at marine use plan will:

  • Respect and accommodate Gitga’at rights and title.
  • Protect important marine cultural areas and heritage sites.
  • Conserve and sustainably manage marine cultural resources, including seaweed, shellfish and other marine resource harvest sites, current and abandoned village sites, and important fish species and their supporting habitats and ecosystems.
  • Protect and sustain marine ecosystems, and fish, invertebrate, and wildlife habitat.
  • Sustain the mechanisms linking marine habitats within the Territory and sustain the mechanisms linking marine resources within the Territory to marine habitats and ecological process outside the Territory.
  • Maintain healthy populations and sub-populations of fish and marine wildlife, and restore depleted populations as required.
  • Maintain healthy, well distributed populations and sub-populations of marine focal species.
  • Protect at-risk marine species and their habitats and restore where necessary.
  • Maintain the natural diversity and functional representation of marine species, ecosystems, and habitats.
  • Protect rare marine ecosystems.
  • Develop and maintain diverse marine-based economic opportunities that adhere to ecosystem-based management principles.
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