Fisherman on boat during sunset in Cambodia

The CHFP Announces Two New Endorsed Actions, Encompassing Estuaries in Canada and Shipwrecks in Sri Lanka

Intending to achieve the Ocean Decade vision of ‘the science we need for the ocean we want’, the newly endorsed Decade Actions strengthen the momentum for ocean solutions rooted in cultural heritage.

1) Enhancing Estuary Resilience in Coastal British Columbia

Led by The Nature Trust of British Columbia in collaboration with First Nations, this project aims to understand and enhance the resilience of estuary ecosystems along the coast of British Columbia. Estuaries and coastal wetlands comprise less than 3% of British Columbia’s coastline, yet they support over 80% of British Columbia’s coastal fish and wildlife. Many culturally and commercially important fish stocks, including Pacific salmon, herring, crabs, clams, oysters, and various forage fish species, are dependent on estuaries. However, estuaries face significant threats from climate change, including sea-level rise and habitat degradation.

The project encompasses:

  • Development of meaningful, lasting partnerships with Coastal First Nations and other stakeholders.
  • Monitoring and research to assess estuary resilience at multiple sites across Vancouver Island, the central coast, and Haida Gwaii.
  • Implementation of ecological restoration projects based on collected data, increasing marsh resilience to sea-level rise, restoring fish and wildlife habitat, and revitalizing Indigenous food systems.
  • Providing equitable employment opportunities and funding for First Nation partners to be involved in all stages of the project including planning, fieldwork, data collection, analysis, and the implementation of restoration and enhancement projects.
  • Capacity building and knowledge exchange to support informed decision-making.

With a focus on equitable participation and benefit-sharing with Indigenous communities, this project demonstrates a holistic approach to conservation that respects both ecological and cultural values.

Benthic cover on the Cargo Wreck Sri Lanka
Arial shot of shipwreck
Underwater Radio Tower on the Medhufaru Wreck

Shipwrecks as Artificial Reef Structures in Sri Lanka

The project includes:

  • Preliminary results from an analysis of shipwrecks in Colombo highlight the role of the wrecks as habitats of indigenous species, including larger aggregations of fish that constitute a resource for local artisanal fisheries.
  • Determining the biological value of shipwrecks by their importance for species recruitment, food source, biodiversity, and sheltered habitat.
  • Evaluating shipwrecks from an ecological, historical, and socio-economic standpoint to understand their value for the development of marine communities, their support for local fisheries and tourism, and as a tool for sustainable marine resource management.
  • Assessing the historical and socio-economic significance of shipwrecks for local communities.
  • Enhancing understanding of cultural heritage within Sri Lanka’s marine resource management and conservation strategies.

By investigating the role of shipwrecks in supporting marine ecosystems and livelihoods, this project aims to fill critical knowledge gaps and inform sustainable management practices.

Stay Connected

These endorsed Actions represent significant milestones in our ongoing efforts to protect and preserve marine cultural heritage. By combining traditional knowledge systems, cultural heritage, and ocean science, we aspire to create a more resilient and interconnected future for both humanity and the marine environment.

We invite you to stay updated on these initiatives’ progress via the CHFP website and engage with us in our shared mission to create a healthy, resilient ocean for decades to come.


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