Government of Canada and coastal First Nations announce largest marine protected area in Canada

VANCOUVER, BC, July 11, 2024 /CNW/ – Today, the Council of the Haida Nation, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, Pacheedaht First Nation, Quatsino First Nation and the Government of Canada announced the designation of Tang.ɢwan — ḥačxwiqak — Tsig̱is as a Marine Protected Area (MPA). This large ecologically unique ocean area located approximately 150 kilometres off the west coast of Vancouver Island, is now Canada’s largest MPA designated under the Oceans Act via Governor in Council.

Covering 133,017 square kilometers, the Tang.ɢwan — ḥačxwiqak — Tsig̱is MPA is home to extraordinary seafloor features, including more than 47 underwater mountains, known as seamounts, and all known confirmed hydrothermal vents in Canada. These deep-sea biological  “hotspots” support rare and unique deep-water species that are both remarkable and culturally important.

Formerly known as the Offshore Pacific Area of Interest, this deep-water ocean area was first identified for protection in May 2017 and measures to prevent certain fishing activities were subsequently put in place. In 2023, the Council of the Haida Nation, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, Quatsino First Nation, Pacheedaht First Nation and Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding outlining how the parties will collaboratively manage the Tang.ɢwan — ḥačxwiqak — Tsig̱is MPA.

In addition to designating this MPA under the Canada’s Oceans Act, each partner First Nation has advanced their own process to designate the area. Ensuring full protection of this important area has been a collaborative effort centered on marine protection and reconciliation.


“Today we are taking a giant step forward in protecting Canada’s oceans. Working collaboratively with partner First Nations to cooperatively manage and designate the Tang.ɢwan — ḥačxwiqak — Tsig̱is MPA signifies our joint commitment to preserve ecologically and culturally important marine and coastal areas. The designation of this MPA brings us halfway to our goal of conserving 30 percent of our oceans by 2030.”

The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“The Haida Nation recognizes the importance of Canada’s designation of the Tang.ɢwan — ḥačxwiqak — Tsig̱is Marine Protected Area. In October 2022, the Haida Nation designated the portion within Haida territory as a Haida Heritage Site. In June 2023, we participated as a partner in an ocean expedition with the Northeast Pacific Deep-sea Exploration Project to study the seamounts. Today, the joint designation demonstrates that all parties share a long-term commitment to ocean protection and biodiversity conservation and shows that a collaborative process can create meaningful measures to safeguard these unique deep-sea habitats.”

Gaagwiis Jason Alsop – President, Council of the Haida Nation

“Nuu-chah-nulth have, since time immemorial, worked to protect the ocean as it is our valuable resource, and we must ensure future generations will be able to access the resources as we have. The ocean has taken care of us, and we must look after it as well. We are asserting our authority with Haida, Quatsino and Pacheedaht and Fisheries and Oceans Canada to declare this area a designated Marine Protected Area. Collectively, we commit to sustain the oceans ecosystems, habitats and special areas so the ocean will always be bountiful for our communities.” 

Cloy-e-iis, Dr. Judith Sayers, President, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council

“The marine spaces of Pacheedaht’s Territory are fundamental to our culture, food security, and way of life. Since time immemorial our people have governed, managed and stewarded our lands and marine spaces for current and future generations. Our laws and stewardship responsibilities require that we take care so that future generations may continue to rely on thriving oceans throughout our marine Territory. Pacheedaht First Nation has designated this area as a protected area, and is committed to working collaboratively with the other Nations and Canada to conserve and protect this unique place in our Territory. Recognizing and respecting Indigenous governance in marine spaces is a necessary part of reconciliation and the collaborative governance and management of this marine protected area is an important next step on the path of reconciliation.”

Pacheedaht First Nation

“Quatsino First Nation relies on our da̱ms (Ocean) resources in a physical, spiritual, and cultural way. We are proud to stand alongside the other Nations in this collaborative first step in marine conservation. Da̱ms are the life-blood of our territory.”

Chief Tom Nelson, Quatsino First Nation

Quick Facts

  • The MPA’s name consists of a Haida word meaning deep ocean (Tang.ɢwan: phonetic spelling: Tung-Gwun), a Nuu-chah-nulth and Pacheedaht word meaning deepest part of the ocean (ḥačxwiqak; phonetic spelling:huch/khwi/kuk) and a Quatsino word referring to a monster of the deep (Tsig̱is; phonetic spelling: tsee-geese)
  • All known Canadian hydrothermal vents and over 70 per cent of all known Canadian Seamounts are within the Tang.ɢwan — ḥačxwiqak — Tsig̱is Marine Protected Area.
  • The Tang.ɢwan — ḥačxwiqak — Tsig̱is Marine Protected Area repeals the existing Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents Marine Protected Area, capturing this important area in the Regulation.
  • Commercial and recreational bottom contact groundfish fishing on the seamounts and in the hydrothermal vents area of the MPA have been closed since 2017.
  • Canada and partner First Nations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in January 2023. This cooperative management agreement was jointly announced by the parties on February 7, 2023, at the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5) in Vancouver.
  • Canada’s newest MPA regulation will provide protection to the area consistent with Canada’s MPA protection standard.
  • Designating the Tang.ɢwan – ḥačxwiqak – Tsig̱is MPA adds 0.88 per cent to the existing 1.44 per cent from the 2017 Offshore Pacific Seamounts and Vents marine refuge. This increases the current protection of Canada’s oceans from 14.66% to 15.54%.
  • The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, Council of the Haida Nation and Pacheedaht and Quatsino First Nations have advanced their own designation processes as part of their inherent jurisdiction, in addition to the joint Tang.ɢwan – ḥačxwiqak – Tsig̱is MPA designation with Canada.
  • Now that the Tang.ɢwan — ḥačxwiqak — Tsig̱is MPA is designated, regulations for the MPA have been published in Canada Gazette Part II.

Associated Links

(CNW Group/Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada)

SOURCE Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada

Government of Canada and coastal First Nations announce largest marine protected area in Canada WeeklyReviewer

PR Newswire World News

World Reviewer Staff
World Reviewer Staff
The first logical thought has to be "no way". I'm the World Observer! Ill find and share important news all day.

Latest articles

Earnings Disclosure

WeeklyReviewer earns primarily through affiliates and ads. We don’t encourage anyone to click on ads for any other purpose but your own. We recommend products and services often for our readers, and through many we will earn commissions through affiliate programs.

Related articles