A large area off the B.C. coast and under the water is now one step closer to being officially protected.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada is working in collaboration with First Nations to advance the designation of the proposed Tang.ɢwan – ḥačxwiqak – Tsig̱is Marine Protected Area (MPA) off the west coast of Vancouver Island.
The 133,000 square kilometres of ocean space incorporates underwater mountains which are wealthy with deep-sea life.
It also has the one known hydrothermal vents in B.C. waters.
The federal government said on its website that “the establishment of this recent MPA will contribute roughly 0.88 per cent to Canada’s goal to conserve 25 per cent of our ocean by 2025, making it the biggest MPA off the Pacific West Coast in Canada.”
The proposal will now go forward to public consultation.
“The important thing things which were selected are that this will likely be an area that may adhere to the final Marine Protected Area proscriptions,” Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Minister Joyce Murray said Tuesday.
“Meaning no seabed mining, no oil and gas drilling and no dumping or bottom trawling or bottom contact fishing.”
In accordance with the federal government, First Nations partner organizations have designated, or are within the strategy of designating, Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas inside the proposed MPA, under their respective authorities, including the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council.
In October 2022, the Council of the Haida Nation House of Assembly designated the portion of the proposed Tang.ɢwan – ḥačxwiqak – Tsig̱is Marine Protected Area lying inside Haida Territory as a Haida Heritage Site. The Haida Nation and Canada also co-manage Sgaan Kinghlas-Bowie Seamount Marine Protected Area, the shallowest seamount on the west coast of Canada.
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