Nature Canada congratulates First Nations leadership on new Marine Protected Area announcement: Tang.ɢwan-ḥačxʷiqak-Tsig̱is MPA
Ottawa, ON February 7, 2023 – Today at the IMPAC5 ocean conference the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Haida, Pacheedaht, and Quatsino Nations with Fisheries and Oceans Minister, Joyce Murray, announced a Memorandum of Understanding to co-manage a proposed new Marine Protected Area (MPA) to be known as Tang.ɢwan-ḥačxʷiqak-Tsig̱is. This area, previously known to ocean conservationists as the Pacific Deep Sea Oasis, is of great ecological importance and has been the focus of Indigenous-led efforts towards protection for years. The name Tang.ɢwan-ḥačxʷiqak-Tsig̱is is comprised of the Haida word Tang.ɢwan which means ‘deep ocean’, the Nuu-chah-nulth/ Pacheedaht word ḥačxʷiqak which means ‘deepest part of the ocean’, and the Quatsino word Tsig̱is which means ‘monster of the deep’.
“We congratulate the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, the Haida, Pacheedaht, and Quatsino Nations on this joint announcement with the Government of Canada. Co-governance with DFO was never a given but the Nations here have fought tirelessly for their rights and authority in these waters and it is to their credit that we are able to celebrate this milestone,” says Gauri Sreenivasan, Nature Canada’s Policy and Campaigns Director. “The Nations have provided crucial leadership to ensure that Tang.ɢwan-ḥačxʷiqak-Tsig̱is will be collaboratively managed and protected for the benefit of not just the ocean but of the communities that have stewarded it since time immemorial.”
Nature Canada, alongside other conservation organizations, has been actively supporting these Nations’ vision for Tang.ɢwan-ḥačxʷiqak-Tsig̱is (Deep Sea Oasis) as a co-governed Marine Protected Area for years. The equal and effective involvement of the First Nations partners in the long term management of this area is critical. Through their leadership and dedication to reaching an agreement that supports the interconnected goals of conservation, Indigenous rights, and reconciliation, these Nations are defining the future of marine conservation efforts in Canada. Nature Canada also applauds the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for their work in coming to this agreement with Indigenous governments, as a crucial step towards meeting Canada’s conservation and reconciliation goals.
The Tang.ɢwan-ḥačxʷiqak-Tsig̱is (Deep Sea Oasis) site is a seascape of submerged mountains and fragile coral forests lying under tens of thousands of square kilometres of open ocean. Today’s announcement is the culmination of years of nation to nation negotiation and has cleared the way for the MPA to be listed on the Canada Gazette for consultation later this month, bringing it one step closer to expected protection under the Oceans Act. Once fully protected Tang.ɢwan-ḥačxʷiqak-Tsig̱is Marine Protected Area will account for almost 1 percent of Canada’s ocean territory under protection from overfishing, mineral and fossil fuel development, and other threats to it’s ecological integrity. Today’s announcement also included commitment to ensure strong standards of protection for the MPA including no oil and gas exploration, no bottom trawling, no dumping, and no seabed mining.
Canada has a goal of protecting 25 percent of ocean territory by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030. The addition of Tang.ɢwan-ḥačxʷiqak-Tsig̱is MPA once established will put Canada at approximately 15 percent protection, just over halfway to the critical 30×30 goal committed to most recently at the Global Biodiversity summit, COP15, in Montreal last December.
Nature Canada is Canada’s voice for nature. For 80 years, Nature Canada has helped protect over 110 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and countless species. Today, Nature Canada represents a network of over 175,000 members and supporters and more than 1,200 nature organizations.