on June 15, 2011

The term co-management has been identified as an important component to the relationship of First Nations and DFO. However, both sides are struggling to find a common definition of the term, or agreement on best practices or implementation. AFN has completed a survey and opened discussion with First Nations to encapsulate what co-management means to First Nations.

AFN sought to identify aggregate roles within co-management regimes and a general co-management definition. On March 1, AFN presented a discussion piece on co-management views and theories for consideration to the NPAG. On March 8, AFN circulated a follow-up survey seeking to assess aggregate responsibilities within co-management regimes. On March 28, AFN presented a draft definition of co-management for consideration and ratification to the NFC.

First Nations were unable to come to consensus in defining co-management.
Interpretations and terminology varied across regions Survey participation rates were poor and solicited feedback was often done orally due to concerns about information use.

Some First Nations are moving towards the term “joint management” as an acceptable term for the following reasons:

  • Focuses more on the development of partnerships that facilitates management.
  • Features sustainable practices, recognition of SSC findings of FN rights and title to manage the fishery resource, utilizes the ecosystem approach, shared conservation mandate, accountability and First Nation stewardship.
  • Support government to government discussions and decision making authorities.
  • Co-management Paper
  • Co-management Definitions Guide
Assembly of First Nations