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 are being 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 are examining 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 following is a small sample of the major activities undertaken by the Atlantic Working Group over 2016/2017.
Our graduate students and postdoctoral researchers were active on several fronts related to regional assessment activities, including undertaking field research in Newfoundland in a study of the shrimp fishery, a project on marine spatial planning in the Atlantic region, and fieldwork involving community perspectives on MPAs and community wellbeing. Our bowtie analysis of cumulative effects in the Northumberland Strait was completed, and we continue to assess the precision and accuracy of the Community Aquatic Monitoring Program (CAMP) in describing littoral nekton assemblages of estuaries within the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Our partner, Friends of Port Mouton Bay, is working on a Nitrogen Loading Model paper with a focus on developing a model framework for estimating nitrogen loading from background sources and coastal fish-farm aquaculture. Eelgrass monitoring in Port Mouton Bay also continued under the protocols of SeaGrassNET, a Global Sea Grass Monitoring Network, co-sponsored by the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence Coalition on Sustainability.
We made progress on the development of local scenarios for the community of Port Mouton, Nova Scotia. We are also examining the extent to which Nova Scotia coastal communities are engaging in future planning, and continue to undertake a systematic review of coastal community climate change adaptation.
We hosted a Governance Cross-Cutting Theme meeting in at the University of Waterloo in November 2016 to chart a path forward. Subsequently, we convened a workshop in March 2017 on rapid coastal change and governance at University of Waterloo. Graduate students and postdoctoral researchers developed an expert survey regarding the governance of Canada’s oceans along with several webinars. Data collected from these activities will be used in publications.
The Atlantic Working Group continued 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 progressed 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 were 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
Jessica Blythe, University of Waterloo
Irene Brueckner-Irwin, University of Waterloo
Tony Charles, St. Mary’s University
Ratana Chuenpagdee, Memorial University
Simon Courtenay, University of Waterloo
Sondra Eger, University of Waterloo
Graham Epstein, University of Waterloo
Jeff Hutchings, Dalhousie University
Jessica Kidd, University of Waterloo
Ron Loucks, Friends of Port Mouton Bay
Prateep Nayak, University of Waterloo
Emma Posluns, Friends of Port Mouton Bay
Robert Ross, Friends of Port Mouton Bay
Ruth Smith, Friends of Port Mouton Bay
Nicole Stamnes, University of Waterloo
Dr. Derek Armitage: University of Waterloo
We empirically examine relationships among the conditions that enable learning, learning effects and sustainability outcomes based on experiences in four biosphere reserves in Canada and Sweden. In doing so, we provide a novel approach to measure learning and address an important methodological and empirical challenge in assessments of learning processes in decision-making contexts. Findings from this study highlight the effectiveness of different measures of learning, and how to differentiate the factors that foster learning with the outcomes of learning. Our approach provides a useful reference point for future empirical studies of learning in different environment, resource and sustainability settings. (Full publication)
Around the world, many coastal communities and small-scale fishers have proven effective as stewards of their local marine environments and resources. Given these considerable successes, this chapter assesses opportunities to increase the focus in ocean conservation practice and policy on initiatives at the local level of coastal communities and small-scale fishers. The chapter reviews the historical evolution of ocean conservation, with a focus on fundamental shifts to more holistic approaches of ecosystem-based and integrated management, and to a greater focus on participatory governance. These major shifts reinforce the role in ocean conservation of local-level coastal communities and small-scale fishers. Drawing on case studies of the Community Conservation Research Network, the rationale for a focus on local conservation is based on a trio of contributors: local knowledge, participation, and institutions. Four major conclusions are drawn with respect to national and international policy. First, achieving the full ocean conservation potential of coastal communities and small-scale fishers requires greater attention to and mainstreaming of this level of conservation. Second, governmental policy must better connect ocean conservation and coastal communities, so that decisions made by governments about ocean space and resources fully consider effects on communities. Third, the relevant scientific and management agencies must adapt institutionally to new realities, which can require restructuring programs and reassigning resources to better align with communities and ocean users. Fourth, opportunities for “scaling-up” from local initiatives to large-scale ocean management and “scaling down” in the reverse direction need to be better explored. (Chapter in Conservation for the Anthropocene Ocean: Interdisciplinary Science in Support of Nature and People. Available in PDF.)
From black horses to white steeds: building community resilience celebrates and critiques the dynamics of innovation, governance, and culture in place. Case studies from both sides of the North Atlantic illustrate episodes of “turning around”; evolution, transformation, and visionary strategy that breathe new life into the term “think global, act local.” The studies explore how various dark horses including minorities, small towns, peripheries, Aboriginal communities, those with little money, status, voice, or political leverage can rise to the occasion and chart livable futures. (Chapter in From black horses to white steeds: building community resilience. Publication site)
The goal of the ‘Catching Ripples’ workshop was to further develop our understanding of regime shifts and other forms of rapid change at the land-sea interface. Workshop participants explored how linking social theory with ecological theory may help to address the challenge of rapid change, and to consider the emergent concept of linked ‘Social-Ecological Regime Shifts’ (SERS). The workshop was thus designed to draw on the insights of an interdisciplinary group of applied scholars and practitioners engaged in assessing or navigating the biophysical, social and policy dimensions of regime shifts and rapid change in coastal watersheds. (Read the report)
Adaptive comanagement is at an important cross-road: different research paths forward are possible, and a diagnostic approach has been identified as a promising one. Accordingly, we operationalize a diagnostic approach, using a framework, to set a new direction for adaptive comanagement research. We set out three main first-tier variables: antecedents, process, and outcomes, and these main variables are situated within a fourth: the setting. Within each of these variables, significant depth of study may be achieved by investigating second- and third-tier variables. Causal relationships among variables, and particularly related to the outcomes of adaptive comanagement, may also be investigated at varying depths using the diagnostic framework and associated nomenclature. We believe that the diagnostic approach we describe offers a unifying methodological approach to advancing adaptive comanagement research as well as similar approaches. There are significant benefits to be gained, including building a database of case studies using this common framework, advancing theory, and ultimately, improving social and ecological outcomes. (Full publication)
Coastal communities depend on the marine environment for their livelihoods, but the common property nature of marine resources poses major challenges for the governance of such resources. Through detailed cases and consideration of broader global trends, this volume examines how coastal communities are adapting to environmental change, and the attributes of governance that foster deliberate transformations and help to build resilience of social and ecological systems. (Full Publication)
Multi-stakeholder environmental management and governance processes are essential to realize social and ecological outcomes. Participation, collaboration, and learning are emphasized in these processes; to gain insights into how they influence stakeholders’ evaluations of outcomes in relation to management and governance interventions we use a path analysis approach to examine their relationships in individuals in four UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. We confirm a model showing that participation in more activities leads to greater ratings of process, and in turn, better evaluations of outcomes. We show the effects of participation in activities on evaluation of outcomes appear to be driven by learning more than collaboration. Original insights are offered as to how the evaluations of outcomes by stakeholders are shaped by their participation in activities and their experiences in management and governance processes. Understanding stakeholder perceptions about the processes in which they are involved and their evaluation of outcomes is imperative, and influences current and future levels of engagement. As such, the evaluation of outcomes themselves are an important tangible product from initiatives. Our research contributes to a future research agenda aimed at better understanding these pathways and their implications for engagement in stewardship and ultimately social and ecological outcomes, and to developing recommendations for practitioners engaged in environmental management and governance. (Full publication)
Governance across the land–sea interface presents many challenges related to (1) the engagement of diverse actors and systems of knowledge, (2) the coordinated management of shared ecological resources, and (3) the development of mechanisms to address or account for biogeochemical (e.g., nutrient flows) and ecological (e.g., species movements) interdependencies between marine and terrestrial systems. If left unaddressed, these challenges can lead to multiple problems of social-ecological fit stemming from governance fragmentation or inattention to various components of land–sea systems. Network governance is hypothesized to address these multiple challenges, yet its specific role in affecting social-ecological fit across the land–sea interface is not well understood. We aim to improve this understanding by examining how network governance affects social-ecological fit across the land–sea interface in two empirical case studies from the Lesser Antilles: Dominica and Saint Lucia. We found that network governance plays a clear role in coordinating management of shared resources and providing capacity to address interactions between ecological entities. Yet, its potential role in engaging diverse actors and addressing, specifically, biogeochemical interactions across the land–sea interface has not been fully realized. Our research suggests that network governance is beneficial, but not sufficient, to improve social-ecological fit across the land–sea interface. Strategically leveraging the network processes (e.g., triadic closure) leading to the existing governance networks could prove useful in addressing the current deficiencies in the networks. Additionally, the interplay between hierarchical and networked modes of governance appears to be a critical issue in determining social-ecological fit at the land–sea interface. (Full publication)
“Coastal grab” refers to the contested appropriation of coastal (shore and inshore) space and resources by outside interests. This paper explores the phenomenon of coastal grabbing and the effects of such appropriation on community-based conservation of local resources and environment. The approach combines social-ecological systems analysis with socio-legal property rights studies. Evidence of coastal grab is provided from four country settings (Canada, Brazil, India and South Africa), distinguishing the identity of the ‘grabbers’ (industry, government) and ‘victims’, the scale and intensity of the process, and the resultant ‘booty’. The paper also considers the responses of the communities. While emphasizing the scale of coastal grab and its deleterious consequences for local communities and their conservation efforts, the paper also recognizes the strength of community responses, and the alliances/partnerships with academia and civil society, which assist in countering some of the negative effects. (Full Publication)
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’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)
Governance across the land-sea interface is an emerging challenge. The propensity for, and intensity of social-ecological interactions across this interface (e.g., eutrophication, sedimentation) are being exacerbated by cross-system threats (e.g., climate change). We draw on a systematic review of 151 peer-reviewed papers on governance and land-sea connections to (1) outline the current state of the literature, (2) examine the predominance of different approaches to address land-sea interactions, (3) characterize how governance is conceptualized within these approaches, (4) investigate governance challenges, and (5) provide insights into effective governance. The review finds that the number of relevant papers published per year has generally been increasing, and most of these papers are found in interdisciplinary journals. Ecosystem-based management is the most predominant approach found in the literature as a means to address land-sea interactions. Papers referring to ecosystem-based management are more likely than those referring to alternative management approaches (e.g., integrated management) to highlight science-policy integration and the need to account for interactions between ecosystem components as elements of effective governance. The main governance challenges include determining boundaries, addressing cross-scale effects, and accessing knowledge. However, few empirical studies of governance across the land-sea interface have been completed. A richer conceptual framework of governance is required to improve our ability to navigate the rapid social and environmental change occurring across the land-sea interface. (Full Publication)
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 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)
Andrews, E; Epstein, G; Armitage, D.
Governing social-ecological regime shifts: examining the subjective and normative dimensions of fishery system change. Resilience 2017: Resilience Frontiers for Global Sustainability; Stockholm, Sweden.
Achieving transparency in natural resource management by quantitatively bridging social and natural science uncertainties. Integrated Marine Biosphere Research Program, IMBIZO5. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute; Massachusetts.
Communities, Coasts and Governance. Department of Geography Speaker Series, University of Guelph; ON.
Integrating Governance into Management Strategy Evaluation. Paper presentation to Workshop on Management Strategy Evaluation: Achieving Transparency in Natural Resource Management by Quantitatively Bridging Social and Natural Science Uncertainties. Integrated Marine Biosphere Research Program, IMBIZO5. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute; Massachusetts.
Implications of marine protected areas on coastal community wellbeing. Bedford Institute of Oceanography, DFO; Dartmouth, NS. Also presented at St. Andrews Biological Station, DFO, St. Andrews, NB; IASC XVI Bienniel Conference, Utrecht, NL; and Three Minute Thesis (3MT) at the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment, Waterloo, ON. Poster at the 2017 Canadian Parks Conference; Banff, AB.
The implications of marine protected areas on fisher wellbeing. Fundy North Fishermen’s Association; St. George, NB.
Current data and future needs for assessing local-level conservation, stewardship and responsible fisheries in small-scale fisheries. Workshop on improving our knowledge on small-scale fisheries: data needs and methodologies. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations; Rome, Italy.
Plummer, R; Armitage, D; Baird, J; Bodin, Ö; Schultz, L; Dzyundzyak, A.
Developing and using a diagnostic approach to understand adaptive co-management: reflections and frontiers. Resilience 2017: Resilience Frontiers for Global Sustainability; Stockholm, Sweden.
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.
Armitage, D; Pittman, J.
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.
Stamnes N; Cormier, R; Armitage, D; Courtenay, S.
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. Platform presentation, Coastal Zone Canada; Toronto, ON.
The governance and institutional dimensions of adaptive capacity in coastal communities. Adaptive Capacity Working Group, OceanCanada Conference; Vancouver, BC.