The Ha-ma-yas Stewardship Network supports Guardian programs from five First Nations on Northern Vancouver Island and the Southern Central Coast of BC. It helped commission a study to identify the best opportunities for guardians to work with resource agencies to manage and protect the marine environment. The study looked at the monitoring, compliance and enforcement priorities and activities of the Guardian programs and the provincial government to see where overlaps existed. It uncovered barriers and opportunities for collaboration. Some of the study’s findings include:
- Trust and relationships between the First Nations and Guardian staff are important for working together on monitoring.
- Guardians can play an important role in promoting compliance with rules and regulations by having a visible presence in the area.
- Low capacity within provincial agencies increases their willingness to work with Indigenous Guardians.
- Environmental monitoring and data collected by guardians can be very useful and impactful.
The study also highlighted the importance of partnerships between Nations and provincial agencies at different levels including:
- Individuals working in the field (including conducting joint patrols).
- Collaboration at the managerial level (including drafting an agreement detailing areas in which Guardian programs can support priority provincial monitoring and compliance).
- Discussions at the government-to-government level (including continued discussions that increase Guardian program and provincial agency collaboration opportunities).
You can read the report in full or learn more here: “Guardian Program Opportunities in the NVI Marine Area”.