Marine Spatial Planning

Marine Spatial Planning is a collaborative and transparent approach to managing ocean spaces that helps to balance the increased demand for human activities with the need to protect marine ecosystems. It takes into consideration all activities and partners in an area to help make informed decisions about the management of our oceans in a more open and practical way.

Marine Spatial Planning is internationally recognized as an effective tool for transparent, inclusive and sustainable oceans planning and management. Approximately 65 countries are currently using this approach.

Marine Spatial Plans are tailored to each unique area to help manage human activities and their impacts on our oceans. Depending on the area, these plans may include areas for potential resource development and areas that require special protection.

Marine Spatial Planning in Canada’s Pacific North Coast (Northern Shelf Bioregion)

Marine Spatial Planning in the Pacific North Coast will bring together federal, provincial, and Indigenous partners to share knowledge and to work together to better manage activities in this area. The Pacific North Coast covers approximately two-thirds of the coast of British Columbia, extending from the top of Vancouver Island, including Quadra Island and Bute Inlet, to the Canada–United States border at Alaska; an area that is also known as the Northern Shelf bioregion.

The Marine Spatial Planning process will build on existing initiatives including the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (PNCIMA) planning process, the Marine Plan Partnership (MaPP), development of a marine protected area network for the Northern Shelf bioregion, as well as Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan.

The Oceans Protection Plan is the largest investment ever made to ensure our oceans are clean, safe and healthy today and for future generations. The Plan has wide ranging initiatives to ensure the preservation of ecosystems, safer marine shipping and increased scientific research in partnership with communities and Indigenous Peoples.

In February 2017, a plan for PNCIMA was endorsed by the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard; the Coastal First Nations-Great Bear initiative; the North Coast-Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society; and the Province of British Columbia. It commits partners to work together to ensure that healthy and functioning ecosystems and coastal communities are maintained in this significant and unique marine area of Canada. The signing of the Reconciliation Framework Agreement for Bioregional Oceans Management and Protection represents an important step in implementing PNCIMA.

To further advance our objectives under PNCIMA, the Government of Canada, First Nations, and the Province of British Columbia are working towards an agreement that will complement the Reconciliation Framework Agreement for Bioregional Management and Oceans Protection and will set the stage for tri-lateral collaborative ocean governance and marine spatial planning in the Northern Shelf bioregion.

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