British Columbia

Trudeau and B.C. North Coast First Nations announce ocean protection agreement

Federal government and 14 B.C. coastal First Nations sign framework agreement around co-managing and protecting marine ecosystems.

Federal government and 14 First Nations agree to framework to allow co-management of marine ecosystems

Justin Trudeau is flanked by Heiltsuk Chief Marilyn Slett and Transport Minister Marc Garneau as he announces a framework agreement around co-managing ocean ecosystems along B.C.'s north coast. (Chris Corday/CBC)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined First Nations leaders Thursday to announce a partnership with 14 B.C. North Coast First Nations in managing and protecting marine ecosystems along two-thirds of B.C.'s north coast.

The press conference, held in Prince Rupert, was scheduled to mark National Indigenous Peoples Day.

The agreement, which falls under the $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan, was framed as a step toward Indigenous reconciliation.

"This is a very big day for both reconciliation and the environment for Canada." said Trudeau. 

"Ocean's protection must be indigenous led," said Heiltsuk Chief Marilyn Slett, whose nation was affected by the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill. "Those with relationship to the ocean should be charged with responding to threats to the ocean."

Trudeau said another announcement around marine mammal conservation was coming tomorrow. 


  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the Heiltsuk chief. Her name is Marilyn Slett, not Marily Stett.
    Jun 21, 2018 4:16 PM PT