10 years as a National Marine Conservation Area Reserve

Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site

In 2020, Canada and the Haida Nation celebrated the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve. Our celebratory tagline is Gwaii Haanas: The Ocean Provides.

A decade ago the Haida Nation, Parks Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada signed an agreement that was thousands of years in the making: the 2010 Gwaii Haanas Marine Agreement protects a place where the ocean, land and Haida have been intertwined for over 12,000 years.

Gwaii Haanas’ marine protection story, however, began much earlier than 2010. In 1985, the Haida Nation designated the southern one third of Haida Gwaii as a Haida Heritage Site. Since 1993, Gwaii Haanas has been cooperatively managed by the Haida Nation and Parks Canada via the Archipelago Management Board. In 2010, with the signing of the Gwaii Haanas Marine Agreement, Gwaii Haanas was also designated as a National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. Since then, the Haida Nation, Parks Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada have worked together as the Archipelago Management Board making decisions about the land-and-sea protected area.

We’ve worked to restore salmon streams on Lyell Island, to conserve culturally important seabirds and to restore kelp forests and species at risk such as Northern Pacific Abalone. We’ve also celebrated the 20th anniversary of Gwaii Haanas cooperative management by raising a monumental pole at Windy Bay that depicts stories of cooperation, culture and creatures of the land and sea.

Then, in 2018, Canada and the Haida Nation launched the country’s first integrated land-and-sea management plan with the release of the Gwaii Haanas Gina ‘Waadluxan KilGuhlGa Land-Sea-People Management Plan.

The 10th anniversary of the Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve reminds us of how far we’ve come, but also how truly young we are. We celebrate a decade since the marine conservation area was created, while also understanding that it takes ongoing commitment to protect fragile marine ecosystems, honour Haida knowledge, and further understand how the land and sea and people connect.

Gwaii Haanas: The Ocean Provides

In Gwaii Haanas our cooperative partners – the Haida Nation, Parks Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada – work to protect the cultural and natural heritage of the 3500 square kilometres of ocean for many reasons.

The ocean calms.
The ocean teaches.
The oceans inspires.
The ocean provides.

The marine area of Gwaii Haanas provides food, important habitat for plants, fish and invertebrates. Culturally the ocean provides, livelihoods, transportation routes and connections to living Haida culture. A common Haida saying is “when the tide is out, the table is set.” Today the ocean provides a way for Haida people to continue practicing fishing and harvesting as their ancestors have for thousands of years and a way for visitors to learn about the rich ocean culture evident in Gwaii Haanas.

Be part of the celebration!

Be sure to check out the different pages below to dive into the special marine world of Gwaii Haanas.

World Oceans Day

On June 8, 2020 – World Oceans Day - Gwaii Haanas team members celebrated the 10th anniversary of the NMCAR by sharing their ocean love. Check out the Facebook video here.

DIY Activities

Download these informative and made-on-Haida-Gwaii colouring pages. Thanks to Gwaii Haanas team members Crystal Young and Mary Hart for illustrating these awesome colouring pages so you can learn at home about the land, sea and people of Gwaii Haanas.


The oceans that surround Haida Gwaii influence and inspire the food we eat, the way we live, and the work we do. Check out some snapshots that show the many facets of the Gwaii Haanas waters.

Connect with us

Join the conversation! Tell us how the ocean provides for you and/or your family. Connect with us via the Gwaii Haanas Facebook page or send an email to: pc.gwaiihaanas.pc@canada.ca

Date modified :