Indigenous rights missing from marine protected areas

Social Sciences

Natalie Ban is a professor in Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. Credit: UVic Photo Services

Declining marine resources are a global concern and in response, many countries are establishing Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to protect biodiversity. However, Indigenous rights and governance are being overlooked, says a University of Victoria researcher.

In a paper, “Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Marine Protected Areas,” published this week in the journal Marine Policy, UVic marine conservation biologist Natalie Ban says an opportunity exists for governments to work toward reconciliation and conservation and ecological goals at the same time by involving Indigenous people in governance and management.

“Given the importance of establishing MPAs to protect marine biodiversity, and the responsibility to address past wrongs committed to Indigenous peoples, the nexus of MPAs and Indigenous rights needs urgent investigation,” says Ban.

Ban found that peer-reviewed studies on MPAs and Indigenous governance are quite limited in number. In her research, she examined the global literature on existing MPAs and Indigenous governance. Only 15 papers since 1999 referenced Indigenous involvement.

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Media contacts

Natalie Ban (School of Environmental Studies) at 250-853-3569 or

Tara Sharpe (University Communications + Marketing) at 250-721-7636 or

In this story

Keywords: marine policy, oceans, environment, Indigenous

People: Natalie Ban

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