"When the Mamalilikulla First Nation unilaterally declared an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area in their traditional territory in late 2021, it was as much to protect rare corals and sponges as reestablish connection to lands and waters from which the community had been forcefully removed. Now Canada is backing the nation, adding marine protections under federal law".
"In late 2021, the Mamalilikulla First Nation unilaterally declared protections for a 10,416-hectare tract of land and sea north of Vancouver Island off the coast of British Columbia under Indigenous law. The nation, eager to reconnect with traditional territory from which it had been forcefully separated, established the Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area without the provincial or federal governments.
Now, Ottawa is officially recognizing the marine portion of the Mamalilikulla protected area, with Fisheries and Oceans Canada Minister Joyce Murray announcing on Sunday the fragile ecosystem, rich with rare shallow-water corals and sponges, will be protected for “the long term.”
The creation of the Gwaxdlala/Nalaxdlala marine refuge, an area also known as Lull Bay and Hoeya Sound in Knight Inlet, comes as officials and experts from around the globe are gathered in Vancouver for an international forum on marine protected areas."
Ainslie Cruickshank reports for The Narwhal February 6, 2023.