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West Coast Indigenous-led marine conservation area gets global spotlight – Canada’s National Observer

May 1st 2024

A coastal First Nation is celebrating global recognition of its marine protected area after recently snagging a “blue park” designation that highlights exemplary ocean conservation efforts around the world.

The Kitasoo Xai’xais First Nation (KXFN) Gitdisdzu Lugyeks Marine Protected Area (MPA), about 500 kilometres north of Vancouver, is the first certified blue park in Canada.

It will receive $8,000 in funding and join 30 other parks around the world awarded “blue park” status by the Marine Conservation Institute, an international science-based group that advocates for ocean conservation.

“Getting this award and international recognition was a pretty cool thing,” KXFN elected Chief Doug Neasloss told Canada’s National Observer. Gitdisdzu Lugyeks is also the first Indigenous-protected marine blue park in the world, he said.

The conservation area covers 33.5 square kilometres in Kitasu Bay, near Laredo Sound and the KXFN community of Klemtu, on B.C.’s central coast.

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