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$60M investment for Indigenous-led stewardship and sustainable development across the Great Bear Sea

New funding announced today by BC government adds to the funding announced last December

– December 5, 2023

Unceded territories of the Coast Salish Peoples/Vancouver, BC – Today’s announcement of $60 million from the Province of BC to support Indigenous-led initiatives along the Great Bear Sea is celebrated by the Canadian Parks And Wilderness Society British Columbia.

“This announcement shows the provincial government’s ongoing commitment to Indigenous-led stewardship and sustainable development of the coast,” says Executive Director Meaghen McCord. “This adds to the other recent investments BC has made, and we are encouraged by BC’s ongoing efforts to support First Nation leadership across the province, on land and coast.”

The contribution from the BC government will be added to the previously announced Project Funding for Permanence (PFP) for the Great Bear Sea Initiative along with three other Indigenous-led initiatives announced almost exactly a year ago in Montreal.

The funding will support ongoing work, including the Great Bear Sea Marine Protected Area (MPA) Network– a process started over a decade ago between Indigenous Nations, BC, and Canada. Collaborative and well-managed marine conservation efforts in this region can lead to benefits, including improving the health of the coast, protecting culturally important sites, protecting the future of fisheries and food security, and more.

The announcement comes on the heels of recent polling that shows there is strong support for marine protected areas in the Great Bear Sea. Seventy-nine percent of British Columbians support the creation of a network of Marine Protected Areas that will protect 30 percent of the waters of BC’s Northern Shelf Bioregion (Great Bear Sea), while only nine percent were opposed, according to Mario Canseco.

“We know that a Marine Protected Area Network is what is needed to protect these sensitive and threatened marine areas, which First Nations in the area have been calling for for over a decade,” says Ocean Conservation Manager Kate MacMillan. “This funding will help the implementation of the Marine Protected Area Network Action Plan that was endorsed in February. This funding will help marine life and entire ecosystems to recover, rebound, and adapt, and it will also benefit local communities with dependable food and support local economies, now and for our children and grandchildren.

The funding will also support the Marine Plan Partnership (MaPP), Guardian programs, and sustainable economic development to support new businesses, permanent jobs, and more across the region. 


For more information or to request interviews, please contact: 

  • Nanwakolas Council, Caitlin Thompson:, (250) 305 8756; 
  • Coastal First Nations, Bessie Brown:, (604) 722-3331;
  • Coast Funds, Stephanie Butler:, (604) 715 1926

Send a thank you!

Whenever conservation initiatives are announced, it’s important to let leaders know that Indigenous-led stewardship and sustainable development is important to you. Please help us in thanking Premier David Eby and Minister Nathan Cullen for this investment!