A healthy marine economy on Haida Gwaii will balance traditional and emerging sectors, guided by a clear vision of the future. The Haida Gwaii Marine Plan focuses on five marine sectors that have potential for future growth: marine tourism; shellfish aquaculture; community-based fisheries economy; marine research and monitoring; and marine-based renewable energy.
- Marine Tourism
- Shellfish Aquaculture
- Community-based Fisheries Economy
- Marine Research and Monitoring
- Marine-based renewable energy
A healthy marine economy would balance traditional and emerging sectors, guided by a clear vision of the future. The Haida Gwaii Marine Plan focuses on five activities in Haida Gwaii that have potential for future growth:
- Marine tourism, positioning Haida Gwaii as a premier tourism destination;
- Shellfish aquaculture, marketing sustainable aquaculture products;
- Community-based fisheries economy, based on sustainable wild fisheries;
- Marine research and monitoring, particularly to support the conservation of marine ecosystems and EBM approaches to management; and
- Marine-based renewable energy, such as new wind or tidal energy projects.
The natural beauty of Haida Gwaii, its remoteness and the sense of wilderness, and the appeal of Haida culture continue to attract visitors from Canada and abroad. The designation of Gwaii Haanas has brought global attention to the archipelago.
Haida Gwaii has excellent potential as a destination for adventure, ecotourism, and cultural tourism but lacks much of the basic infrastructure for development. Ferry and air transportation to the islands is expensive, takes time, and can be irregular during the winter months. Accommodation options are also limited and there are very few organized activities for visitors.
Section 7.1 of the Haida Gwaii Marine Plan provides additional information about Haida Gwaii marine tourism and outlines objectives and strategies to support the growth of this marine industry.
Want to learn more? Watch this film on Haida Gwaii Marine Tourism produced by the CHN Marine Planning Program.
The harvesting of shellfish for food and cultural purposes is a long standing Haida practice, but the modern shellfish culture industry is in a fledgling stage on Haida Gwaii. Shellfish production, however, could expand in the near future if proposed projects become operational.
Section 7.2 of the Haida Gwaii Marine Plan provides additional information about shellfish aquaculture and outlines objectives and strategies to support the growth of this industry.
Short term implementation priorities include the development of an ecological and socio-cultural shellfish carrying capacity study for key areas in Haida Gwaii and the development of a strategy to address the colonization and spread of aquatic invasive species.
Community-based Fisheries Economy
Commercial fisheries are an important part of the marine economy of Haida Gwaii: they contribute an average annual landed value of more than $80 million to the provincial economy. Historically, commercial fisheries were integral to the Haida Gwaii economy but, over the decades, local participation has declined and the size of the resident commercial fleet on the islands is currently very small. In addition, very few of the fish caught in Haida Gwaii waters are delivered to local seafood processing plants. Increasing the local economic benefits from marine resources is key to developing sustainable island communities. Mechanisms for this may include building participation in specific commercial fisheries, using local processing capacity, and strengthening distribution channels.
See Section 7.3 of the Haida Gwaii Marine Plan for additional information about community-based fisheries economy potential on Haida Gwaii, as well as objectives and strategies to support the growth of this sector.
Want to learn more? Watch this film on the Haida Gwaii community-based fisheries economy produced by the CHN Marine Planning Program.
Marine Research and Monitoring
Marine research and monitoring consists of services that support the study, management and use of marine resources. These services are fundamentally important to the successful application of ecosystem-based management and the implementation of marine planning initiatives.
Programs conducted by the CHN and federal and provincial agencies make up most of this sector on Haida Gwaii, specifically the CHN Fisheries Program, Gwaii Haanas/Parks Canada, DFO, BC Parks, and Canada Coast Guard. Non-governmental organizations are also involved in research and monitoring, and a number of universities from BC and abroad have conducted research programs and studies in the waters surrounding Haida Gwaii. The involvement of local communities and the emergence of citizen science provide further avenues for increasing research and monitoring activities.
See Section 7.4 of the Haida Gwaii Marine Plan for additional information about marine research and monitoring potential on Haida Gwaii, as well as objectives and strategies to support the growth of this sector.
Marine-based renewable energy
The ocean can provide renewable energy sources, including tidal, wind and wave power. On Haida Gwaii, marine-based energy development may contribute to more sustainable communities and a diversified local economy, and may reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Several proposed wind and tidal energy projects have potential on Haida Gwaii.
See Section 7.5 of the Haida Gwaii Marine Plan for additional information about the potential for marine-based renewable energy on Haida Gwaii, as well as objectives and strategies to support the sustainable growth of this sector.