The Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast

A group of Steller sea lions sits on a rock outcropping on the coast on a sunny day, with mountains in the background.
Steller sea lion | Photo by Scott Harris

Through the Marine Planning Partnership, now Marine Plan Partnership (MaPP), provincial and First Nations governments in BC are working towards sustainable development, improving economic opportunity, and supporting ecological integrity for the North Pacific Coast. This collaborative government to government partnership is an agreement between the Province of British Columbia (BC) and 17 member First Nations represented by the Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative, Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance, the Council of Haida Nation, the Nanwakolas Council, and the North Coast-Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society. 

Marine planning through MaPP started in 2011, and four sub-regional marine plans for the North Coast, the Central Coast, North Vancouver Island, and Haida Gwaii were completed in the spring of 2015. Together, these sub-regions make up the MaPP region, which aligns with the Northern Shelf Bioregion (NSB; Figure 1). Subsequent to the development of the sub-regional marine plans, MaPP produced the Regional Action Framework (RAF) in 2016 to establish regional MaPP actions that are best implemented at a regional scale and also support sub-regional strategies. As part of its planning work, MaPP Partners also completed a series of current conditions and trends reports for the four sub-regions.

Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) is the ‘foundation’ of the MaPP sub-regional plans and the RAF. EBM is a framework that aims to define management strategies for entire systems, rather than managing for individual components, and, importantly, recognizes humans as an explicit component of that system. The MaPP EBM framework was developed by federal, provincial, and First Nations governments in collaboration with stakeholders through the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (PNCIMA) initiative [2]. In the context of MaPP, the marine EBM framework seeks an adaptive approach to management that ensures the co-existence of functioning ecosystems and human communities. 

For the MaPP EBM recommendations to be successfully implemented across the region, it is important to consider both the short and long-term effects of climate change. Currently, the MaPP RAF has outlined actions that support monitoring, risk assessment, blue carbon sequestration, education, and public awareness of climate change. Each sub-region has also identified particular objectives and strategies for adaptation to climate change.

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Figure 1: The MaPP region (i.e. the Northern Shelf Bioregion), showing the boundaries of the four sub-regions and main communities. The sub-regional boundaries follow the Northern Shelf Bioregion boundary, except for a small area near the western tip of North Vancouver Island.
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