Tsartlip Chief and Council and Band Administration have begun the process of developing a three-year, community-run marine stewardship program. 

The Tsartlip Marine Stewardship Program is a recently approved program that will be developed along with up to 33 other nations working together on the Salish Sea Initiative

While the Salish Sea Initiative is a Government of Canada and the Department of Fisheries program, we have ensured that receiving this funding does not in any way impact or reduce Tsartlip member’s existing Aboriginal or Treaty Rights and Title. The Salish Sea Initiative provides funding and resources for activities that will address and mitigate our concerns about the impact of human activity on the precious ecology of the Salish Sea. 

By participating in the Salish Sea Initiative, the Tsartlip Marine Stewardship initiative gains access to labs, technicians and scientists that will help support the community-identified work plan. 

Developed over a three-year term, the Marine Stewardship program will focus on developing and implementing a work plan that will be focused on providing safe and immediate access to the sea. This access will facilitate data collection that will result in the creation of a baseline of ocean wellness, this data, along with the data provided by our knowledge holders, will inform the creation of an action plan that will ensure the delicate ecology of the Salish Sea is maintained. It will help us make informed decisions on how to improve food security and our ability to carry out the sacred responsibilities to the water and marine life. 

In addition to effective stewardship activities, the program is also intended to provide meaningful investments in the scientific capacity of our community. Outcomes could include environmental monitoring, youth education programs, traditional use studies, and cumulative effects assessments. 

A Director of  Stewardship will be hired to oversee the development of the program; they will begin with community-driven work planning and the establishment of an Elders and Knowledge Keepers committee to advise on activities going forward. They will also engage with community members to identify key outcomes and hire and train community members to operate the program. The Director of Stewardship will acquire equipment, such as a marine vessel and truck and trailer. An assessment and planning required to upgrade the existing boat launch will also be included in this first year. At the end of the first year, Tsartlip will have the technology, the people, the training and the capacity to fully participate in the Salish Sea Initiative, collecting data, monitoring the marine environment and restoring our sacred responsibility to the sea. 

In the second year, we will begin with upgrades to marine infrastructure such as the boat launch, parking lot and boat storage facilities. We will focus on expanding the technical and scientific capacities of the team, by hiring additional staff and implementing further community-led work-planning. Ultimately, by this second year, Tsartlip will have an increased capacity to capture and analyze data based on identified metrics and isolate areas for improvement in the quality of the Salish Sea ecosystem. 

The third year will continue the previous year’s programming by hiring additional staff, completing the upgrades to the marine access facilities, enhancing data collection and marine protection efforts as well as ensuring member’s ability to access the marine environment. 

At the end of the three years, Tsartlip will have enhanced logistical, administrative, scientific and technical capacities. From there, our community can then independently collect and analyze the marine data required to develop and execute effective stewardship plans into 2024 and beyond. 

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