The Marine Planning Partnership (MaPP) initiative is a partnership between the Province of British Columbia and 17 First Nations (including the Nanwakolas member First Nations). MaPP has developed and is implementing marine use plans for BC’s North Pacific Coast. Under MaPP, the Nanwakolas marine team, guided by the member First Nations’ individual marine plans and the collective Ha-ma-yas Marine Plan, co-led the development of the Northern Vancouver Island (NVI) Plan with the provincial government. Marine stakeholders also provided advice and input to the planning process.

Since the NVI Marine Plan was approved by the member First Nations and signed in April 2015, the Nanwakolas marine team has been working with the member First Nations to support the implementation of its recommendations. The provincial government has committed to a shared decision-making process for plan implementation, and to help with core funding of First Nations Guardian programs.

Activities currently taking place, consistent with the member First Nations’ priorities and the NVI Marine Plan, include research into ecosystem health (including the state of kelp and eelgrass), expansion of archaeological site inventories, the strengthening of the referrals process and marine tenure review, and greater presence on the water by Guardian programs. All of the member First Nations have Guardian programs operating through the Ha-ma-yas Stewardship Network, with many of the Guardians completing formal training qualifications through Vancouver Island University’s Stewardship Training Program, which is partially supported by the MaPP initiative.

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Looking forward, the member First Nations, with support from the Nanwakolas marine team, will be amending and reviewing the NVI plan along with their own individual marine plans in order to identify successes, focus on future priorities, and review strategies. MaPP is an important venue for First Nations to assert rights and title and focus on crucial marine issues. Building on the work of MaPP, additional marine co-governance initiatives are now under way, including the Oceans Reconciliation Framework Agreement and the Great Bear Sea Marine Protected Area Network.

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