Informing Indigenous Marine Protection in Gitga’at Territory

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are a popular strategy for ocean conservation in Canada and several
options are available to pursue this type of protection. However, the current federal and provincial processes for
MPA development involve engagement in lengthy multi-stakeholder processes that can overwhelm local
communities and their conservation objectives. An alternative strategy is the establishment of MPAs led by
individuals or organizations in a community. This type of community-led conservation effort has shown great
success in some settings in the world, and has been pursued by Indigenous communities to protect areas that
are culturally, ecologically and economically important. In Canada, there is little experience with community-led
MPAs in First Nation communities. This research project will examine the establishment and management of a
community-led MPA from the perspective of a First Nation. The research will be conducted in partnership with
the Gitga’at First Nation and WWF-Canada, and will generate a set of recommendations that can be used by the
Gitga’at to produce a management plan for a community-led MPA in their territory.

Faculty Supervisor:

Murray B. Rutherford


Taylor Groenewoud



Environmental sciences


Natural resources




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