Parks Canada Gwaii Haanas - Haida Gwaii

Restoration Project

Parks Canada Gwaii Haanas - Haida Gwaii

Restoration Objective:

Project team aimed to restore kelps to enhance the marine health of kelp forests along 3 kilometres of coast in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site, and in turn provide kelp habitat for a range of ecologically, culturally and economically important species such as abalone, rockfish, and lingcod. Larger kelp forests also benefit coastal communities by increasing coastal productivity, supporting ecologically sustainable use.

Site Selection Criteria:

A subtidal rocky reef coastline that was known to be important to culturally important and endangered northern abalone was selected. It was also a location along an island where terrestrial habitat restoration had occurred.

Cause Of Decline:

Overgrazing by red and green urchins has resulted in declines in Nereocystis and understory Laminariales kelp cover at the restoration location on Haida Gwaii.

Key Reasons For Decline:


Predator loss

Climate Change

Scientific Paper

Chiixuu Tll iinasdll: Indigenous Ethics and Values Lead to Ecological Restoration for People and Place in Gwaii Haanas

Ecological Restoration.

Site Observations:

Observation Date

15th Sep 2018 – 12th May 2020

Action Summary:

Greater than 90% of urchins (primarily red and green with some purple) were fished or cracked underwater along a 3 km stretch of rocky reef from 0-15 m chart datum in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site. Removal and cracking of urchins was undertaken at the restoration site by Haida Fisheries Program divers and red sea urchin commercial fishery divers.

Lessons Learned:

This project worked successfully because of the collaboration among the project partners – Parks Canada and Council of the Haida Nation – and commercial urchin fishers and researchers to remove enough urchins to facilitate kelp regeneration. The collaboration with researchers enabled new scientific knowledge to be gained that can inform future innovative urchin fisheries management that may also help kelps.

Project Outcomes:

In the year following restoration activities, researchers observed increased kelp stipe density and continued low urchin densities. The project and monitoring will continue over summer 2021, with future years of site maintenance and monitoring planned to continue beyond the life of the project.

Key Reasons For Decline:


Scientific Paper:

Ecological Restoration.

Area of Restoration (Ha)


Indicator Data:


Ending Value:

Starting Value:

Adult Kelp Density

/ m2
/ m2
Total Cost:2,212,057