February 8, 2023

Lheidli T’enneh Territory, Prince George, BC – On February 5, 2023, at the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5), 15 First Nations jointly announced two commendable initiatives alongside the provincial and federal governments regarding the protection of the northern third of Canada’s West Coast.

The First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC) expresses profound congratulations and acknowledges the hard work undertaken by Gitga’at, Gitxaala, Haisla, Kitselas, Kitsumkalum, Metlakatla, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo Xai’xais, Nuxalk, Wuikinuxv, Mamalilikulla, Kwiakah, Tlowitsis, and Wei Wai Kum First Nations, and the Council of the Haida
Nation on the endorsement of their Marine Protected Area (MPA) Network Action Plan for the Northern Shelf Bioregion (NSB), which extends from the northern tip of Vancouver Island up to the Canada-Alaska border beyond Haida Gwaii. Additionally, the FNLC also calls upon the Governments of BC and Canada to urgently take further
actions, in partnership with First Nations, to preserve marine resources for future generations and prevent the extinction of irreplaceable wild stocks.

After more than a decade of work with the Province and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), this MPA Network Action Plan outlines a strategic approach to developing an extensive network of marine protected areas along BC’s north coast, highlighting First Nations’ persistence and dedication to this vital work. The Action Plan includes a
recommended design for the MPA network, suggestions for potential designation tools, conservation objectives, and implementation timelines to conserve future sites.