The Atlantic Working Group operates out of the University of Waterloo and Saint Mary’s University, and is addressing critical knowledge gaps, contributing methodologically innovative strategies for ocean and coastal planning, and developing policy insights about pressing regional concerns.
One of our key projects is to use participatory modelling and scenario building to assess development, governance and stewardship options in collaboration with the community of Port Mouton, Nova Scotia. Models and scenarios will be used to explore specific economic development and environmental conservation options, including exploration of interactions between economic sectors, such as fisheries, tourism, and mineral extraction. We will also examine the impact of a range of climate change scenarios, and possible human responses.
We are also conducting a regional-scale assessment to identify the relationships among core marine ecosystem services (the benefits people derive from nature through provisioning, regulating, supporting and cultural functions), the material, relational and subjective wellbeing of coastal communities, and the experience with rapid changes (i.e., tipping points) in ocean and coastal systems.
Members of our group are also undertaking an assessment and analysis of the governance mismatch between: a) local-provincial coastal management processes (e.g., provincial aquaculture policies, support for coastal community diversification) and ocean-related planning processes operating at federal levels; and b) the ability of existing institutions and governance arrangements at multiple scales to respond to rapid changes in social-ecological conditions (e.g., stock decline, stock shifts, acidification).
- Models and scenarios of coastal and ocean change and potential futures (socio-economic and biophysical) that can assist local and regional policy makers
- Potential transfer of participatory modeling approach to other sites in the Atlantic and to other regions
- Novel assessments of links among ocean and coastal ecosystem services and wellbeing in the context of rapid change to support coastal communities and guide policy makers
- Strategies to improve coordination among local, provincial and federal actors in oceans planning and management
- Building capacity and training of students to tackle transdisciplinary ocean challenges
The Atlantic Working Group is continuing to foster applied research to help government agencies, communities, and other partners manage the increasing change and uncertainty associated with ocean and coastal systems (ecological, social and institutional). It is progressing on several fronts: 1) addressing key knowledge gaps about social-ecological change in ocean and coastal systems, and the implications for the wellbeing and resilience of coastal communities in the Atlantic region; 2) contributing methodologically innovative strategies for ocean and coastal planning; and 3) developing insights to support more adaptive policy and governance for issues of regional concern. Key areas of progress are in the areas of graduate student research projects, formalized arrangements with new partners, engagement in new initiatives related to core OCP themes, on-going development of previously identified initiatives, and recruitment of a post-doctoral fellow to support aspects of its research plan.
Derek Armitage (Lead), University of Waterloo
Evan Andrews, University of Waterloo
Irene Brueckner-Irwin, University of Waterloo
Tony Charles, St. Mary’s University
Simon Courtenay, University of Waterloo
Sondra Eger, University of Waterloo
Graham Epstein, University of Waterloo
Jessica Kidd, University of Waterloo
Ron Loucks, Friends of Port Mouton Bay
Emma Posluns, Friends of Port Mouton Bay
Rob Ross, Friends of Port Mouton Bay
Ruth Smith, Friends of Port Mouton Bay
Nicole Stamnes, University of Waterloo
Mark Andrachuk, Ph.D. Candidate
Project title: Thresholds, regime shifts and governance of Canada’s oceans
The project involves an initial scoping and literature review of state of knowledge of cases of thresholds and regime shifts and the governance implications in key ocean systems, starting with the Canadian Atlantic Ocean.
Emma Posluns, Research Assistant
Project Title: Modeling coastal community sustainability using a participatory approach
The project is identifying models of participatory approaches to plan for social, ecological, and economic changes in coastal communities. A compilation of various management, planning, and adaptation strategies for use by Maritime communities is a key focus. Read more about this project
Bioeconomics of ocean acidification effects on fisheries targeting calcifier species: a decision theory approach.
The impact of ocean acidification on fisheries is a relatively new issue facing decision-makers, and one for which very little empirical data is available to draw upon. This paper demonstrates how, despite the lack of knowledge, well-established methods of bioeconomic modelling and decision analysis can be applied to address the challenge. A decision support framework is developed, incorporating a dynamic age-structured bioeconomic model together with a set of decision tables applicable in the absence of known probabilities of future change. With such a model it is possible to trace ocean acidification as an additional stressor, specifically on fisheries targeting calcifier species, such as many high value mollusks. We do so by shifting growth and natural mortality parameters into time varying functions of ocean acidity (pH), as forecasted by climate scenarios reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Possible effects of ocean acidification on calcifier species with various life cycles were modeled beginning with initial biological parameters of the growth and mortality dynamic functions reflecting differences in individual growth, natural mortality and species longevity. The analysis illustrates how fishery outcomes depend on the extent of ocean acidification and the life cycle of calcifier species. Results also indicate that under uncertainty, there is value in taking precautionary management measures, such as reducing fishing intensity. (Full Publication)
Canada at a crossroad: the imperative for realigning ocean policy with ocean science.
Canada’s ocean ecosystem health and functioning is critical to sustaining a strong maritime economy and resilient coastal communities. Yet despite the importance of Canada’s oceans and coasts, federal ocean policy and management have diverged substantially from marine science in the past decade. In this paper, key areas where this is apparent are reviewed: failure to fully implement the Oceans Act, alterations to habitat protections historically afforded under Canada’s Fisheries Act, and lack of federal leadership on marine species at risk. Additionally, the capacity of the federal government to conduct and communicate ocean science has been eroded of late, and this situation poses a significant threat to current and future oceans public policy. On the eve of a federal election, these disconcerting threats are described and a set of recommendations to address them is developed. These trends are analyzed and summarized so that Canadians understand ongoing changes to the health of Canada’s oceans and the role that their elected officials can play in addressing or ignoring them. Additionally, we urge the incoming Canadian government, regardless of political persuasion, to consider the changes we have documented and commit to aligning federal ocean policy with ocean science to ensure the health of Canada’s oceans and ocean dependent communities. (Full Publication)
Place-based or sector-based adaptation? A case study of municipal and fishery policy integration.
Place-based adaptation planning is an approach to address cross-sectoral and multi-level governance concerns as well as to build local adaptive capacity in vulnerable resource-dependent communities facing the adverse impacts of climate change. In contrast, sector-based adaptation planning focuses on addressing climate change impacts on individual economic sectors (e.g. fisheries or forestry) or sub-sectors (such as lobsters or timber). Yet, linking sectoral approaches with local adaptation policies is challenging. More effort is needed to identify opportunities for complementary adaptation strategies and policy integration to foster multiple benefits. In this article, we use a case study of fishery sector resources and municipal adaptation planning in Nova Scotia to demonstrate how meaningful entry points could catalyse policy integration and lead to co-benefits across multiple levels and stakeholder groups. Drawing on a fisheries systems and fish chain framework, we identify and assess several entry points for policy integration across sector- and place-based adaptation domains within coastal habitats, as well as harvesting, processing, and marketing sectors. The analysis highlights the multiple benefits of integrating local municipal adaptation plans with multi-scale resource sectors especially towards monitoring ecosystem changes, protecting essential infrastructure, and securing local livelihoods. (Full publication)
The relationship of social capital and fishers’ participation in multi-level governance arrangements.
The need for effective multi-level governance arrangements is becoming increasingly urgent because of complex functional interdependencies between biophysical and socioeconomic systems. We argue that social capital plays an important role in such systems. To explore the relationship between social capital and participation in resource governance arenas, we analyzed various small-scale fisheries governance regimes from the Gulf of California, Mexico. The components of social capital that we measured include levels of fishers’ structural ties to relevant groups and levels of trust in different entities (i.e. cognitive component). We collected data using surveys and interviews with residents of small-scale fishing communities adjacent to marine protected areas. We analyzed the data using a logistic regression model and narrative analysis. The results of our quantitative analysis highlight the multidimensional nature of social capital and reveals complex relationships between different types of social capital and fisher participation in monitoring, rulemaking and MPA design. Furthermore our qualitative analysis suggests that participation in fisheries conservation and management is not fully potentialized due to the social and historical context of participatory spaces in Mexico. (Full publication)
Governance, institutions and adaptive capacity. OceanCanada Pacific Working Group Adaptive Capacity Workshop; Vancouver, BC.
Using diverse stakeholder perspectives to predict and manage thresholds in Atlantic Canada marine systems. Coastal Zone Canada; Toronto, ON.
Coasts and communities: collaboration, knowledge and rights. Parks Canada – Gwaii Haanas Speaker Series; Skidegate, BC.
The governance and institutional dimensions of adaptive capacity in coastal communities. Adaptive Capacity Working Group, OceanCanada Conference; Vancouver, BC.
Human dimensions of environmental change and governance in coastal social-ecological systems. Ocean Modeling Forum, Herring Working Group; Seattle, Washington.
Derek Armitage and J. Pittman
Governance for marine conservation across the land-sea interface. Symposium organized at the International Marine Conservation Congress, St. Johns, NL.
Governance across the land-sea interface: insights from a systematic review. International Marine Conservation Congress; St. Johns, NL.
A systematic review of governance at the land-sea interface and some implications for Canada’s ocean research and policy. Coastal Zone Canada Conference; Toronto, ON.
Fisheries bio-socio-economics. Fisheries and Aquaculture Bioeconomics Symposium; Mérida, Mexico.
Incentives, social networks and governance: theoretical perspectives on building stakeholder support for the adoption and implementation of integrated management. Coastal Zone Canada Conference; Toronto, ON.
Managing tradeoffs in fisheries and fisheries research. Canadian Association of Geographers of Ontario Conference; Waterloo, ON.
Irene Brueckner-Irwin and Derek Armitage
Implications of marine protected areas on coastal community social-ecological wellbeing in the Bay of Fundy. OceanCanada Conference; Vancouver, BC; and 11th biennial BoFEP Science Workshop; Fredericton, NB.
Sondra Eger and Simon Courtenay
Facilitating the effective operationalization of scientific knowledge within decision-making in Canada. OceanCanada Conference; Vancouver, BC; and McMaster Water Week Student Presentations; Hamilton, ON.
Management of forage fisheries. OceanCanada Conference; Vancouver, BC.
E. Ho, Sondra Eger, and Simon Courtenay
A resilient watershed: applying an integrative and adaptive approach to a long-term management of the Muskoka Watershed. Muskoka Summit on the Environment, 2016 Warming World Summit, Solutions for a Warming World; Bracebridge, ON.
Nicole Stamnes, R. Cormier, Derek Armitage and Simon Courtenay
Application of ISO 31000 risk management standard and ISO 31010 bowtie analysis to link environmental monitoring to governance for the estuaries of the Northumberland Strait, Canada. Coastal Zone Canada Conference; Toronto ON. 12-14 June 2016. Platform Presentation
A policy risk analysis: linking environmental monitoring with decision-making. OceanCanada Conference; Vancouver, BC; and Water Week, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON.