Marine Use Planning

Marine Use Planning can be understood as a collaborative planning process, bringing people together to talk about sustainable management of the marine environment. Many people care about the marine environment and the resources that are sustained in the oceans, whether these resources are used by humans or not. Marine Use Planning brings people together to talk about their diverse value systems and marine interests, and to propose ways of using the resources in the marine environment while continuing to enrich and sustain the species, including humans, who have depended on the oceans for tens of thousands of years. Planning scales and time frames can vary depending on the process and the participants. Generally speaking, planning should take into account the interests of all participants involved, whether this means the Traditional Territory of a Nation or the overlapping jurisdiction and marine uses between different levels of government and industries.


The NCSFNSS engages in multiple scales of marine use planning on behalf of its member and partner Nations. The Stewardship Society Habitat and Aquatic Resources Committee (SSHARC) is the main conduit between NCSFNSS staff and member and partner Nations. Community Marine Use Plans provide the foundation for informing marine use planning processes with the Province of British Columbia and with the Government of Canada.



Community Marine Use Planning


The member and partner Nations of the NCSFNSS have been involved in a coordinated marine use planning effort since 2006. Community Marine Use Plans have been developed by Gitga’at, Gitxaala, Kitsumkalum, and Kitselas, First Nations. Community Marine Use Plans were created with the support of full-­time marine use planning coordinators and marine use planning committees; these are composed of elected Chiefs or Councilors, Hereditary Chiefs, Elders, resource users and harvesters, fisheries managers, and other resource management staff and community members.

Community Marine Use Plans are comprehensive documents that identify each Nation’s vision and values for the marine areas within their territories. Plans cover jurisdiction, resource management, economic development and capacity needs. The Plans remain the key drivers of marine planning and related decision making for the Nations.

The Marine Planning Partnership for the North Pacific Coast (MaPP)


The MaPP initiative is a partnership between 18 member First Nations and the Province of British Columbia. The four member and Nations of the NCSFNSS are partners in MaPP, as well as First Nations from North Vancouver Island, the Central Coast, and Haida Gwaii (see map). A Working Group of senior First Nations and Provincial staff was developed to oversee and guide plan development.

Through MaPP, four sub-regional Marine Use Plans have been created. The North Coast Marine Use Plan is informed by the Community Marine Use Plans and by provincial priorities. The North Coast Marine Use Plan area extends from the Alaskan boundary in the North to the south end of Aristazabal Island.


The North Coast Marine Use Plan provides recommendations for achieving ecosystem health, social and cultural well-being, and economic development through an ecosystem-based approach to planning and management. Marine topics covered in the plan include: First Nations Resource Use and Development, Cumulative Effects, Marine Protection, Marine Pollution and Response, and the Fisheries Economy. For more information on MaPP, please visit the MaPP website and click here for the latest MaPP Newsletter.

The Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (PNCIMA)


PNCIMA is a marine planning process between First Nations Governments, the Province of British Columbia, and the Government of Canada, initiated through a collaborative governance agreement signed in 2008. The PNCIMA Plan provides high level direction and management of marine activities and resources in the region. The NCSFNSS, on behalf of its participating member Nations, is engaged in implementation of the PNCIMA Plan. For more information on PNCIMA, please visit the website at:



The NCSFNSS supports implementation of Marine Use Plans at all the scales described above. In some cases, implementation is specific to the Nation and is supported through Community Marine Use Planning Implementation Agreements. In other cases, implementation takes place through continued collaboration and engagement in other processes. For more information on marine use plan implementation, click on the ‘Projects’ tab.