Canada’s commitment to Marine Protected Areas is important, but it does beg the question: What about the other 90 per cent? This second panel was the sister panel to marine protection, tackling the issue of marine planning. A successful example of marine planning took place off the coast of Rhode Island, and their experience has been documented in Ocean Frontiers II. Produced by Green Fire Productions, Ocean Frontiers is an inspiring film series of citizens coming together to create a new era in ocean stewardship. Ocean Frontiers II tells the story of a region steeped in old maritime tradition now facing a modern wave of big ships, offshore wind and a changing climate. Hear how Rhode Island’s marine planning brings government, conservationists, fishermen, tribes, renewable energy proponents and scientists to the table to plan for a vibrant coastal economy and healthy ocean off their coast.
We could not have imagined having a Summit for World Oceans Day without discussing Canada’s international commitment to protect at least 10 per cent of its marine territory by 2020. To kick off this first panel session, Dr. Paul Snelgrove, Director of the Canadian Healthy Oceans Network, gave an engaging presentation about challenges and solutions for marine protection in Canada. Dr. Snelgrove’s key messages included reminding us that MPAs are a strategy and essential tool for addressing challenges, but they are not a silver bullet. He called for protecting biodiversity by protecting hotspots and habitats, and also emphasized that Canada has a real opportunity to be front and centre for the sustainable management of the entire ocean.
You can find Dr. Snelgrove’s PowerPoint presentation here.
The Panel, moderated by Dr. David VanderZwaag, built on the foundation of Dr. Snelgrove’s presentation, launching a conversation about navigating the complexities involved in meeting Canada’s international commitments for marine protection. This panel was interrupted by the sinkhole evacuation, but the conversation resumed later in the day as part of a combined marine protection and planning panel.
Faith Scattolon, former Regional Director General at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, shared some of the lessons learned from the creation of The Gully Marine Protected Area. Ms. Scattolon was clear that if we are to designate these MPAs in a timely way, consultation, site selection and data accessibility need to be rethought.
“We need to turn the consultation process on its head.” –Faith Scattolon
Timelines and deadlines are needed to ensure the timely development of MPAs, but a linear process doesn’t work, as there are multiple things happening at the same time. Ms. Scattolon suggested turning the consultation process on its head. For example, if a core area of higher protection is always an outcome, this should be taken out of the consultation process and included in the MPA proposal from the start. If we want to get the fishing sector to support MPAs, we need accessible, real-time data.
Picking up on this issue of buy-in, Bruce Turris from the Pacific Integrated Groundfish Harvesters Group argued for working directly at the grassroots level as the best way to get results. Mr. Turris used the example of his trawl footprint work in BC, and how different stakeholders realized that they actually had shared objectives. Mr. Turris noted that it is easy to impose a solution, but that the solutions are more meaningful, productive and enforceable when people are involved in creating them in the first place.
A final agreement from the panel around the idea of Marine Protected Areas was that while they’re all the talk these days, MPAs must be considered in the context of integrated ocean management and planning.
Marine planning and protection initiatives inform each other, and both are important for healthy oceans. Planning is part of the broader attempt to figure out what is happening in our oceans and where, while ensuring that we respect the limits and the thresholds of the marine ecosystems that support us all.
Due to the circumstances of the day, this panel was combined with the remainder of the marine protection panel (10% by 2020). The melding of the two panels worked, as the conversations built on each other.
Dallas Smith, President of the Nanwakolas Council, worked extensively on the Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast (MaPP), and shared his experiences with marine planning. Mr. Smith pointed out that marine planning in coastal BC was preceded by a 20-year land-use planning process, and that the land- use planning process taught people how to engage more proactively with marine planning; ultimately, different parties came together because of their shared belief in economic, ecological and human well-being.
“Partnerships make our communities better places to live.” – Dallas Smith
While the MaPP process worked, what is missing from this process are protected areas. Mr. Smith argued that they need to be tackled next, and done properly. While Mr. Smith pointed out that Constitutional Aboriginal rights must be included, for example ensuring Aboriginal access in no-take zones, the partnerships that developed as a result of MaPP make our communities a better place to live.
For more information about the MaPP process, watch this trailer for The Great Bear Sea by Green Fire Productions, and keep an eye on their screening schedule.
David Martin, chair of the Corporate Environmental Sustainability Committee at CSL Group, offered a frank perspective from the shipping community, pointing out that various processes that the industry has been engaged with have not been positive, resulting in a reactive industry that is skeptical of anything that adds to these processes. Mr. Martin pointed out that if the process is top down, it “hits industry with a thud” and results in a negative industry reaction.
“We [the shipping industry] want to be proactive; the reactive ‘industry of no’ needs to change.” –David Martin
A key takeaway from Mr. Martin’s presentation was that shipping can be a real source of support for marine planning and protection, but the process needs to change. Ships can be floating assets of data, and could work with government and universities to collect more data. He noted that industry has a lot to add to any planning process, but needs to be a part of the conversation as a key stakeholder that can be part of the solution.
Sharon Ehaloak brought her perspective from her work as Executive Director of the Nunavut Planning Commission, and noted that the Commission is mandated to listen: to both science and traditional knowledge. She noted that every voice is equal, but that in order to truly listen any process has to be dynamic: it should be flexible with timelines, work collectively, be open to new ideas and information, and be innovative in how it acquires and incorporates data.
Jake Rice, Chief Scientist Emeritus at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, took that theme of flexibility and dynamism and noted that marine planning would have to be flexible to deal with climate change and its effects on ecosystem services required by humans, and with the fact that humans need biodiversity protected to ensure wealth and equity in the global well-being of humanity. Pressures on oceans already struggling with climate change will be exacerbated by increasing food insecurity and world hunger. We don’t have another decade to waste.
The conversation was woven together by moderator Lucia Fanning, professor in the Marine Affairs Program at Dalhousie University. Ms. Fanning noted that we need a shared set of values to guide us through the challenges ahead, and that our panelists outlined those very values: transparency (Ehaloak); co-operation (Martin); balance (Smith); justice and integration (Rice).
“Marine Protected Areas are important, but they’re just part of the broader Integrated Oceans Management picture.” –Lucia Fanning
Just as we couldn’t imagine a Summit that didn’t include marine protection, we also couldn’t imagine a Summit where we did not try to focus our attention on the most pressing issue facing our planet right now: climate change. At this point in the day, we had just heard from the keynote speaker, Sheila Watt-Cloutier, who had brought the realities of climate change in the North directly to the Ocean Summit.
Dr. Rashid Sumaila gave an opening presentation for this panel. Dr. Sumaila is the OceanCanada Partnership Scientific Director and Professor and Director of the Fisheries Economics Research Unit at The University of British Columbia’s Fisheries Centre. He drove home the following points:
The panel discussion, moderated by award-winning author Alanna Mitchell, used Dr. Sumaila’s presentation as a jumping off point to bring other unique perspectives to the conversation, beginning first with a look at options for using the ocean to mitigate climate change, and then turning to examples of adaptation underway across Canada today.
Elisa Obermann, Executive Director of Marine Renewables Canada, kicked off the discussion with a description of the emerging global market for tidal energy and its potential for Canada. Ms. Obermann noted the exciting development happening right now in the Bay of Fundy, and how Fundy offers Canada a unique, world-class renewable energy resource. However, she noted that development of this resource must be incremental, and that environmental monitoring plans are needed in order to understand and adapt to potential impacts of tidal energy turbines on marine species and ecosystems.
The conversation then pivoted to climate change adaptation, as Susan Allen, a physical oceanographer at the University of British Columbia, described some of her work on climate change adaptation for coastal communities. Ms. Allen pointed out that long range planning is needed if we are to adapt: infrastructure takes a long time to build, and if we can make positive changes now, our communities will save a lot of money, time – and trauma – in the future.