Community Dialogue

Community dialogue is a foundation – an ongoing process to inform a community and conservation-based Marine Strategy for Haida Gwaii. This dialogue is multi-faceted – informal conversations, discussions, interviews, working groups and Island-wide workshops.

Three Island-wide workshops have occurred in Tlell. The first in May 2002 spanned from broad discussions of marine conservation to specifics about Island issues, and featured guest speaker marine conservationist Elliott Norse. The second workshop in December 2002 compiled marine matters of concern to Islanders. The third in July 2005 updated participants on current marine planning processes that may affect the Islands and discussed local approaches and solutions to marine issues.

A continuing series of 'Community Solutions Building' discussions began in late 2005, with small working groups generating ideas and potential solutions to marine issues that affect them.

Gaaysiigang brought together over two hundred people to talk and learn from one another about the condition of Haida Gwaii’s marine ecosystems and marine-based resources. In the span of two days in January 2009, concerned citizens gathered to try and identify solutions to improve the health of our surrounding ocean.



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Jan 2009 Gaaysiigang - An Ocean Forum for Haida Gwaii
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Dec 2005 Community Solutions: Fish Processors
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Dec 2005 Community Solutions: Old Massett Community (North Beach)
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Nov 2005 Community Solutions: Recreational Fishing Guides
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Nov 2005 Community Solutions: Commercial Fishermen
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July 2005 Community Dialogue Notes
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Updates on current marine planning initiatives that affect Haida Gwaii. Discussion groups around the following topics:

  • How do we get traditional & local knowledge into Haida Gwaii marine planning?
  • Ways to use marine conservation areas & networks in marine planning.
  • Ways to apply ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM).
  • What are priority issues for Haida Gwaii? How can we work towards defining solutions?

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Dec 2002 Workshop Notes
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There are clear problems with marine management. Decisions are not meeting local needs regarding environmental and economic concerns. There is a need to act now while there are resources worth managing and protecting. There are problems with the current fragmented management of our marine area—agencies with poor communication, and many processes currently underway.

Local people with expertise must be involved in marine planning. Effective planning will require local knowledge, researchers, and fishermen working together. In May 2002 we had our first meeting at which there was consensus regarding the need for an Islands’ marine strategy. We are now at the point where we need to set priorities and requirements for the planning process.

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May 2002 Workshop Notes
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During Dr. Elliott Norse’s research on blue crabs in the Caribbean he learned that “the ocean gives life, food, and the air we breathe.” However he has also noticed that the ocean is in trouble—things are changing faster and faster over the past twenty to thirty years. “The things we have loved and worshiped are disappearing and, in some cases, things we don’t love are becoming more abundant.”

Haida Gwaii is an important place because the sea here is in better shape than in many other places. In other places excessive nutrients (run-off), pollution, and fishing have harmed the marine ecosystem. Similarly, on Haida Gwaii things have been taken from the ocean at unsustainable rates and things that were once abundant are no longer. However, Haida Gwaii people are an “ocean people” and everyone here is connected to the ocean directly. The question is then, “What do you do about it?”

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