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Towards A Collaborative Management Plan

I am the heart of Cape Breton. I have gathered my peoples, from all walks of life, to share ideas and to strengthen friendships. The People are much stronger together as they hold hands and share a common concern for the natural world. Like the tree roots that bind together in the soil to form a strong forest, the people too have gathered, holding hands and strengthening their resolve to help protect the Lakes. The spirit that was demonstrated by the People at these workshops will live for generations to come, and will be the beating heart of the CEPI. Let us not forget the will of those that came to my shores.

Come walk with me.

Attempts to design a management plan for the Bras d’Or Lakes and its watershed have a long history. This history reflects the honest and dedicated efforts by sincere people devoted to the long-term well-being of this unique and valued ecosystem. A growing body of knowledge was transformed into a blueprint reflecting a serious commitment to secure the future sustainability of the Lakes.

History further shows the establishment of the Eskasoni Fish and Wildlife Commission, dedicated to the orderly and sustainable harvesting of the fishery resources in the Lakes. In 1991, a conference on The Future of the Bras d’Or Lakes was held to find a model for sustainability, to identify key elements of a management plan, and to harness the momentum towards action.

Our knowledge about the Bras d’Or Lakes continues to grow. The establishment of the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources (UINR) in 1999 created a base for this knowledge. Then in 2003, at the request of workshop participants and Mi’kmaq Chiefs, UINR was tasked as the lead organization to deliver a plan for collaboration and the gathering of minds.

These efforts led to the signing of the Bras d’Or Charter in November 23rd, 2005. The official title “Bras d’Or Charter” was constructed around the Vision, Objectives and Purpose for the Bras d’Or Lakes CEPI agreed upon at the 2004 workshop. The seventeen signatures affixed to the document represent the collective intent, or “will”, of the relevant governments with responsibilities for the management and protection of the Bras d’Or Lakes and its watershed.

~ Spirit of the Lakes Speaks (2011)

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Learn more about how we are working collaboratively to protect the Bras d'Or: