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Integrated Resource Management (IRM)
In response to the growing awareness of ecological links between the various resource sectors and First Nation’s responsibilities for effective management of resource harvesting activities, the MCPEI Board of Directors created the Integrated Resource Management Directorate (IRM). This Directorate will provide the Bands with advice, and support comprehensive, ecosystem-based resource management, building on past First Nation experiences in fishery management. It also provides technical advice and assistance on forestry and other resource based initiatives.
IRM can be defined as a way of using and managing the environment and natural resources to achieve sustainable development. Using an IRM approach means that environmental, social and economic issues are considered, while finding ways for all users to exist together with less conflict.
IRM is based on cooperation, communication, coordination, consideration of all values, and involvement of those potentially affected before action is undertaken.
The MCPEI IRM directorate is working to establish community fishery management structures, to meet their long-term fishery needs. The main objective of the IRM directorate is to provide a measure of protection to existing Mi'kmaq Aboriginal and Treaty rights. The focus of this effort is to support Bands in the development of their fishing systems. The dedicated work of community members has been essential to these efforts.
Other organizations are beginning to recognize the existing potential on PEI, and the great strides achieved to date. The enforcement of secure food production and harvesting systems enables the communities to meet their needs. The development of commercial fishing ventures can provide stable employment for Band members.
The direct and in direct benefits of these workable resource extraction processes strengthen the local governmental, administrative, and decisionmaking structures. To this end, IRM has concluded the negotiation of multi-year fishery agreements with DFO. They have also undertaken an extensive review of existing and potential fishery management structures.
The IRM Directorate includes the GIS Section which is responsible for resource mapping and data collection pertaining to First Nation resource use on PEI. This covers all aspects of fisheries, forestry, and hunting and gathering of resources.
The MCPEI, through its IRM work, hopes to continue developing harmonious relations with adjacent resource utilizing communities on PEI, and in the Atlantic region.