Innovative plan will protect Gwaii Haanas for future generations
HLGAAGILDA SKIDEGATE, HAIDA GWAII, BC, Nov. 19, 2018 /CNW/ - The Gina 'Waadluxan KilGuhlGa Land-Sea-People Management Plan for Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site was tabled in Parliament today. The Gwaii Haanas Land-Sea-People Management Plan, signed by the Haida Nation, Parks Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, is a first of its kind – one that sets direction for how the land and sea of a protected area are managed, from mountain top to seafloor.
Since 1993, Gwaii Haanas has been cooperatively managed by the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada through the Archipelago Management Board.
The Gwaii Haanas Land-Sea-People Management Plan outlines the following key goals for the next 10 years:
- Culture – maintaining a strong and enduring Haida relationship with Gwaii Haanas, a place that has significant cultural, spiritual and economic importance.
- Conservation – conserving and protecting ecosystems and the diversity of terrestrial and marine species that live in Gwaii Haanas, including their ability to adapt to climate change.
- Sustainable Use – continuing Haida traditional use throughout Gwaii Haanas and allowing for other activities that are ecologically sustainable and provide social, cultural and/or economic benefits.
- Working Together – advancing a respectful and collaborative relationship between the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada.
The Land-Sea-People Management Plan integrates historic and contemporary Haida knowledge and also considers opportunities for those who depend on Gwaii Haanas for their livelihood. This will further increase appreciation and learning opportunities in Gwaii Haanas for people today and generations to come.
Furthermore, the Land-Sea-People Management Plan strengthens marine protection by increasing areas of strict protection from the current level of 3 percent to 40 percent. The Plan demonstrates how the Haida Nation, Parks Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada are strengthening protection of the terrestrial and marine environments of Gwaii Haanas, while respecting the area's cultural, social, and economic significance.
Protecting our natural heritage is essential to our environment, our economy and our communities. That's why the Government of Canada, in collaboration with partners across the country, has committed to doubling the amount of nature protected in Canada, from coast to coast to coast.
The Gwaii Haanas Land-Sea-People Management Plan incorporates advice from the Gwaii Haanas Advisory Committee, Haida Hereditary Chiefs and communities, Haida Gwaii residents, and key stakeholders including the tourism, fishing and shipping sectors as well as environmental groups.
"Gwaii Haanas is a globally renowned ecological and cultural treasure. We have worked with the Haida Nation for more than 25 years to protect Gwaii Haanas and share its stories with Canadians and the world. This important step will help preserve some of the most abundant and unique nature in the world, and protect the cultural heritage of this iconic place. I would like to say haawa - thank you to all who contributed to the plan for Gwaii Haanas."
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
"The hard work of developing a management plan that seamlessly and naturally integrates the land, sea and people of a place is at the leading edge of planning. Approving this management plan is a welcome task and one that both the Haida Nation and Canada can be proud of. When we set aside our political differences and get to the essence of why we are all involved in managing Gwaii Haanas, it comes down to our respect for this globally renowned archipelago. This plan not only meets the high expectations of the Haida Nation, but, we also believe, it meets the expectations of those from across the country who were involved in its development. This plan recognizes the Haida's long relationship with Gwaii Haanas, it protects areas of high importance on the land and in the sea, and ensures the continuation of ocean-based sustainable livelihoods."
kil tlaats 'gaa Peter Lantin
President of the Haida Nation
"The governance and management of Gwaii Haanas is as unique as its ecology. This is a "first-of-its-kind" plan, managing protection, conservation and sustainable use from mountaintops to the depths of the ocean. For decades, the Haida Nation and Canada have sorted out many of our differences while cooperatively managing Gwaii Haanas, and while working through the details of this plan we encountered and resolved some new ones. Both governments' members of the Archipelago Management Board deserve our respect and thanks, as do the staff who made this happen. This 10-year plan is forward-thinking and sets a high standard which other global protected areas may wish to examine and possibly emulate."
Ginn waadluu un uula isdaa ayagang Trevor Russ
Vice-president of the Haida Nation
"We are all connected through our oceans. The Land-Sea-People Management Plan for Gwaii Haanas puts this principle into action to co-operatively manage this unique ecosystem. Gwaii Haanas has significant social, cultural and economic value, and I recognize the effort and long-term commitments of those from the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada who have been, and continue to be, involved in the innovative and forward-thinking management of this ecological and environmental treasure."
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
- Gwaii Haanas is one of a growing number of co-operatively managed, nationally protected areas in Canada. Since 1993, the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada have worked together to protect and share this amazing place.
- Gwaii Haanas is home to 42 species-at-risk, over 700 known archaeological sites and 20 different species of marine mammals. On average, Gwaii Haanas hosts 2500-3000 visitors annually.
- The National Marine Conservation Area Reserve contributes to Canada's marine conservation targets.
- Gwaii Haanas translates to "Islands of Beauty" in Haida. Located in the southern part of Haida Gwaii, approximately 130 km off British Columbia's coast and 640 km north of Vancouver, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site encompasses more than 5,000 km2 from mountaintop to seafloor. Gwaii Haanas is renowned for its spectacular wilderness and its vibrant cultural resources as well as for the intimate connections it has between land, sea, and people.
Photos for media use:
Gwaii Haanas Gina 'Waadluxan KilGulhGa Land-Sea-People Management Plan
The Islands of Beauty
Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site are located 130 kilometres off the northwest coast of British Columbia and cover the southern third of Haida Gwaii. Gwaii Haanas means "Islands of Beauty" and is part of Haida territory.
For the last 25 years, Gwaii Haanas has been co-operatively managed by the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada through the Archipelago Management Board (AMB). The AMB is responsible for all aspects of planning, management, operation and use of Gwaii Haanas. It is made up of three Haida Nation and three Government of Canada representatives (two from Parks Canada, one from Fisheries and Oceans Canada). Consistent with the Gwaii Haanas Marine Agreement (2010) and Gwaii Haanas Agreement (1993), the AMB makes decisions by consensus.
Gwaii Haanas is a 5,000 km² protected area of land and sea that encompasses more than 160 islands. Almost 6,800 species have been documented in the area, including 42 species-at-risk and over 20 marine mammals. The archaeological record of human occupation dates back at least 14,000 years. Today, Gwaii Haanas is an important area for Haida traditional use, commercial and recreational fishing, education and tourism. On average 2,500-3,000 people visit Gwaii Haanas each year.
A National First
The Gwaii Haanas Gina 'Waadluxan KilGuhlGa Land-Sea-People Management Plan is the first of its kind, setting direction on how the protected area will be managed from mountain top to sea floor. The plan was co-operatively developed by the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada.
In 1985, the Haida Nation designated Gwaii Haanas as a Haida Heritage Site. Soon after, the Government of Canada designated the Gwaii Haanas terrestrial area as a National Park Reserve and, in 1993, the landmark Gwaii Haanas Agreement was signed by the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada. In this ground breaking agreement, often referred to as 'an agreement before its time', the two parties agreed on the need to protect the area's natural, cultural and marine treasures, but also recognized their differing views on title to the area. In 2010, the Government of Canada designated the Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, hence the three-part name where land, sea and people are integral to a management plan.
Until now, management direction for Gwaii Haanas was laid out in two separate plans for the terrestrial and marine areas – the Management Plan for the Terrestrial Area (2003) and the Interim Management Plan and Zoning Plan for the Marine Area (2010). The Land-Sea-People plan fulfills the management planning requirements of both the Gwaii Haanas Agreement and the Gwaii Haanas Marine Agreement, as well as Canadian and Haida legislation.
The Land-Sea-People plan includes seven goals and six guiding principles. Together, they provide the foundation for all decisions made by the AMB. Objectives and targets described in the plan reflect AMB priorities for the next 10 years.
Zoning to Protect Ecological and Cultural Features
Zoning for the land and sea is also included in the Management Plan and aims to protect important ecological and cultural features while minimizing impacts on people's livelihoods.
The Land-Sea-People Management Plan introduces four terrestrial zones:
- Restricted access
- Conditional access
Restricted and conditional access zones protect sensitive cultural and ecological sites. In restricted access areas, visitor access is not allowed. Conditional access areas protect sensitive sites while allowing visitor access under certain conditions. The backcountry zone protects the cultural and ecological resources in Gwaii Haanas while allowing visitor access. This zone comprises over 99% of the Gwaii Haanas terrestrial area. The infrastructure zone is used for sites where existing and/or new infrastructure is, or could be, located. For example: the Haida Gwaii Watchmen cabins.
The Land-Sea-People management plan includes three marine zones:
- Restricted access
- Strict protection
- Multiple use
The restricted access zone protects highly sensitive marine sites and does not allow access. The strict protection zone protects important ecological and cultural areas by prohibiting extractive activities, including commercial and recreational fishing and harvesting. The approved Land-Sea-People Management Plan strengthens marine protection by increasing areas of strict protection from 3 percent to 40 percent, contributing to marine protection on the British Columbia's coast and Canada's marine conservation targets. The multiple use zone allows for many different marine activities. Boat access and anchoring are allowed in strict protection and multiple use areas.
Haida traditional use continues in all terrestrial and marine zones, consistent with the Constitution of the Haida Nation and section 35 of the Constitution Act.
Consultation and Engagement
The Plan incorporates advice from the Gwaii Haanas Advisory Committee, Band Councils, Hereditary Chiefs Council, municipalities, and stakeholders from the tourism, fishing, conservation and shipping sectors. The Gwaii Haanas Advisory Committee is comprised of 13 individuals with a wide range of experience and knowledge, from fishermen to academics to youth. Haida citizens were updated and engaged in the planning process through quarterly sessions and community events.
The Land-Sea-People Management Plan took over four years to develop and involved many people and groups. The management planning process was led by the AMB and supported by a team of technical staff from Council of the Haida Nation, Parks Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Haida culture at the centre
Gwaii Haanas is part of the Haida homeland. Translated from Haida, Gina 'Waadluxan KilGuhlGa means 'Talking about Everything'. The AMB worked with the Skidegate Haida Immersion Program in order to name the plan.
There are six guiding principles in the Gina 'Waadluxan KilGuhlGa Land-Sea-People Management Plan. These guiding principles are based on ethics and values that were developed to support planning on Haida Gwaii and have been modified for the Gwaii Haanas context. The guiding principles are:
- Yahguudang – Respect
- 'Laa guu ga kanhllns – Responsibility
- Gina 'waadluxan gud ad kwaagid – Interconnectedness
- Giid tlljuus – Balance
- Gina k'aadang.nga gii uu tll k'anguudang – Seeking Wise Counsel
- Isda ad dii gii isda – Giving and Receiving
Throughout implementation of the Land-Sea-People Management Plan, Haida people traditional use continued in Gwaii Haanas consistent with the Constitution of the Haida Nation and section 35 of the Constitution Act.
SOURCE Parks Canada
For further information: Caroline Thériault, Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, 819-938-3813, [email protected]; Jocelyn Lubczuk, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, 343-548-7863, [email protected]; Simon Davies, Director of Communications, Council of the Haida Nation, 250-637-1130, [email protected]; Media Relations, Parks Canada Agency, 1-855-862-1812, [email protected]; Media Relations, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 613-990-7537, [email protected]