Protect the Great Bear Sea

The Great Bear Sea is an ecological treasure. From the vast array of invertebrate species that cover the sea floor, to some of the world’s largest marine mammals, and everything in between, its biodiversity is a global treasure. It borders Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest – part of the world’s largest remaining coastal temperate rainforest – and helps to sustain it by supporting an entire web of terrestrial life. The ocean and the rainforest intertwine and nourish each other in the Great Bear Sea - protecting just the land is not enough.

Today less than 1% of British Columbia’s marine environment is fully protected.

Tank-barge traffic to Alaska, unsustainable fisheries, pollution, and climate change are all contributing to the degradation of this relatively pristine coastal ecosystem, and there are still numerous proposed LNG projects that would bring terminals and LNG tankers in these waters. The Province of BC and 17 First Nations on the coast co-led the Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast (MaPP), a cooperative marine spatial plan based on ecosystem-based management, traditional knowledge, and all available science that was years in the making. Now, building on this work, the federal government has committed to work with the province and First Nations to design and implement a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the region, called the Northern Shelf Bioregion (NSB). If it is created and managed according to international best practices, the NSB MPA network is a conservation strategy that will create refuges for fish to replenish their populations, marine mammals to thrive in their habitat, and protect First Nations’ way of life and local economies for generations to come. 

Hundreds of studies from around the world have shown that at a minimum, 30% of our ocean habitat must be fully protected to ensure the long-term survival of biodiversity, and that includes all of the species that feed us. Right now, only 1% of Canada’s marine area is protected. Our federal government made a commitment to protect 10% of marine and coastal areas by 2020. There is still a long way to go to protect that much: Canada needs to catch up and accelerate marine protection, and establish minimum standards for legally-protected MPAs following internationally-recognized guidelines for marine protection. The design and implementation of Marine Protected Area networks can take a long time (especially in Canada - check out Canada's record compared with other countries) and not all areas of interest will be protected. 

Take Action

1.   Sign the pledge to protect the Great Bear Sea - we will contact you when there are opportunities for public input.

2.   Share this video to show your friends and networks why protecting the Great Bear Sea is so important for the future of human and ecological communities in the Great Bear Rainforest.




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