He says the Bear Sea region, also known as the North Plateau Bioregion, is a place of “deep” ecological and cultural richness. The Great Bear Sea is home to some of the west coast’s most extensive kelp forests. It is home to humpback whales, orcas, sea lions and porpoises and provides habitat for a multitude of endangered species, such as the marbled murre, sea otters, eulachon and abalone.
Bissonnette says the current “climate crisis” has had a substantial impact on marine life, citing declining salmon runs as an example.
Climate change has also had an impact on adjacent lands, the Great Bear Rainforest, which is a salmon dependent forest. One of the largest tracts of temperate rainforest in the world, the Great Bear Rainforest covers 6.4 million hectares, stretching from the Discovery Islands in the south to the Alaskan border in the north.
Heiltsuk, Kitasoo / Xai’xais, Nuxalk and Wuikinuxv First Nations, Parks Canada and the BC provincial government recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to conduct a feasibility study on the creation of a reserve national marine conservation area off the central coast of British Columbia. Colombia. It would cover an area of 14,200 square kilometers.
The central coast is a culturally and ecologically rich area, says Bissonnette, so the creation of a national marine conservation area is a step forward in building a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the sea of l ‘Bear (also known as the North Plateau Bioregion). . Discussions for such a network are underway between 17 Aboriginal nations and the federal and provincial governments.