Hecate Strait Fundraiser
Showcases the Power of MPAs

Expeditionists Norm Hann and Bruce Kirkby complete the first ever crossing of Hecate Strait by paddleboard to raise awareness of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Northern Shelf Bioregion

The federal government has promised to protect 30% of Canada’s marine and forest ecosystems by 2030, but to date only 6% of Canada’s oceans are designated as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) under the Oceans Act. Norm Hann, a long-time supporter of Pacific Wild – and paddle board expeditionist, trainer, tour guide and retailer – wanted to raise awareness of MPAs. He and his expedition partner, Bruce Kirkby, tell the story of the first-ever paddle board crossing of Hecate Strait, a formidable stretch of water.

Norm Hann is a longtime champion of the magic of the north central coast, and has a deep respect for the nations and peoples who steward these lands and waters.

Norm was instrumental in raising awareness about the immeasurable damage the Northern Gateway pipeline and export traffic could create in this delicately balanced ec0system of the north and central coast. His film STAND remains a strong call to action 10 years after it was released.

Bruce Kirkby  is an adventurer, writer and photographer, recognized for connecting wild places with contemporary issues. With journeys spanning more than eighty countries and thirty years, Kirkby’s accomplishments include the first modern crossing of Arabia’s Empty Quarter by camel, a descent of Ethiopia’s Blue Nile Gorge by raft and a sea kayak traverse of Borneo’s northern coast. 

This past June, Norm and Bruce decided to attempt the Hecate Strait crossing again, a goal that was five years in the planning, due to the heavy weather and seas found in the region between the northeast end of Haida Gwaii and Hooper Point on the B.C. mainland.

At last, in June 2023 they succeeded, paying homage to the countless crossings made by Haida paddlers since time immemorial.

These two exceptional paddlers invite you to view their journey through a new ArcGIS storymap, and hope you will donate to continued work in achieving lasting protections via marine protected areas for the central and north coast.

Pacific Wild’s marine campaigners have been involved in the efforts to protect this incredible marine region since discussions began in 2011. Staff work on regional committees in a process that involves 17 First Nations, provincial and federal governments, private and business stakeholders, and non-profit organizations. We are honoured to do this work, work that bends over a significant arc of time and raises the profile of individual First Nations and Indigenous stewardship principles across the B.C. central coast.

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are created to reduce the impact humans have on specific areas, and can reduce pollution, help with climate change goals, and reduce pressures from overfishing. Studies have shown that biodiversity in MPAs around the world has rebounded even faster than was expected, spilling over into non-protected areas and even increasing fishing catch and value for the economy.

Norm Hann and Bruce Kirkby

From puffins in the Scott Islands, to humpback whaless bubble-net feeding, surf scoters diving for herring eggs in the millions to coastal sea wolves and spirit bears feasting on the shoreline and in rivers, Pacific Wild elevates the research and science happening in proposed MPAs, and shows why it matters. We aim to show what MPAs mean to biodiverse ecosystems protection, and how their protection puts humans inside the circle of interconnected species, as an equal, rather than a dominant species looking out only for our own narrow – and perilous – interests.

The project to develop marine protected areas on the north and central coast has been underway for over 10 years, involving First Nations, countless non-profit organizations, and individuals committed to protecting this cradle of biodiversity in British Columbia for future generations, and for the health of the planet.

Please donate today!

Dive deeper into the StoryMap for the Hecate Crossing by Paddle Board

Learn more about Pacific Wild's Marine Protected Areas Campaign