The Law and Policy Working Group, based at Dalhousie University, is studying the current state of Canada’s law and policy frameworks in critical sectors affecting the management of our oceans, with a view to strengthening a principled approach to these legal and policy structures. Legal principles of sustainable development can be made the “foundation stones” for supporting healthy social-ecological systems, and we employ this perspective in all aspects of our work.
One of our key research activities is a comprehensive assessment of how Canada has performed in implementing its international and national legal commitments to ensure integrated coastal/ocean management. We are using regional case studies to compare and critique integrated planning efforts under Canada’s Oceans Act that have occurred in the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific regions. We are also reviewing approaches used in other countries (e.g., Australia and the United States) to draw out best practices that can be implemented at home.
Our Working Group is also evaluating national fisheries law and policy frameworks, in light of sustainability principles, in order to better understand Canadian approaches to, and challenges faced in, seeking principled governance in the fisheries sector.
Canada’s law and policy approaches to and challenges in the growing field of aquaculture are also being assessed by members of our team, and compared to international experiences, with a view to the future development of a coherent legislative approach to the sector. Here too, regional case studies are being carried out to assess the extent to which sustainability principles have been implemented, and where they may be more forcefully advanced.
In addition to our formal SSHRC partners, the Canadian Fisheries Network and the Jebsen Institute (Tromsø, Norway) are informal associates of the Law and Policy Working Group.
- Assessments of the current state of implementation of sustainability principles in the Canadian legal and policy frameworks applicable to integrated ocean management, fisheries management and aquaculture
- Comparative studies to evaluate best practices internationally, and their potential applicability in the Canadian context
- Scenarios for future development and enhancement of sustainable approaches to the governance of the three sectors under study
- Directed policy advice for provision to federal, provincial and territorial governments in the legislative implementation of the results of these studies
- Training for graduate students in law and policy frameworks for sustainable ocean governance
The Law and Policy Working Group published an edited collection titled Aquaculture law and policy: global, regional and national perspectives. A workshop on Integrated Fisheries Management Planning was held in Halifax in May 2016, with participation from members of other WGs and partner organizations, and plans were developed for the next stage of this project. Student research on the IFMP project continued over the summer and has been reviewed. Three journal articles were completed and published, a further yearbook chapter was accepted for publication, and a number of presentations were delivered by faculty and students. We also began a new activity under fisheries law and governance: Transboundary fisheries governance in an era of changing oceans, and a cross-WG conference panel presentation and special journal edition are planned as part of this initiative.
During 2015/2016, the Law and Policy Working Group focused on the Aquaculture and Fisheries Law and Governance components. In Aquaculture, a workshop and publications, both in cooperation with the K. G. Jebsen Centre for the Law of the Sea at the University of Tromsø, proceeded on or ahead of schedule. The Fisheries Law and Governance component held a workshop with representatives of other OceanCanada Working Groups as well as partners, and work proceeded on initial publications. Further cooperation and cross-disciplinary contacts were pursued with the Canadian Fisheries Research Network (CFRN) and OCP partners, which will be developed in an upcoming workshop to refine and plan research outputs. Contact was made with OceanCanada Working Groups on possible cooperative work, and this will be pursued in the first six months of 2016/2017. The Integrated Governance component had no outputs planned for this period (although related outputs were completed), but initial work suggested some possible challenges to its current structure, in particular in ensuring interest and full input from other OceanCanada Working Groups.
Phillip Saunders (Co-Lead), Dalhousie University
David VanderZwaag (Co-Lead), Dalhousie University
Cecilia Engler, Dalhousie University
Karen Hunter, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Bettina Saier, World Wildlife Fund – Canada
Rob Stephenson, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
With aquaculture operations fast expanding around the world, the adequacy of aquaculture-related laws and policies has become a hot topic. This much-needed book provides a comprehensive guide to the complex regulatory seascape. Split into three distinct parts, the expert contributors first review the international legal dimensions, including chapters on the law of the sea, trade, and access and benefit sharing for aquatic genetic resources. Part Two discusses how the EU and regional bodies, such as the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO), have addressed aquaculture development and management whilst the final part contains twelve national case studies exploring how leading aquaculture producing countries have been putting sustainability principles into practice. These case studies focus on implementation approaches and challenges, in particular emphasizing ongoing national struggles in attaining effective aquaculture zoning and marine spatial planning. Students and scholars of environmental law and politics will find this contemporary volume an invaluable addition to the limited academic literature critiquing aquaculture law and policy. Policy makers, international bodies and NGOs will also find its insights particularly informative when ensuring sustainable aquaculture regulation and development. (Full publication)
Chapters by OCP members in above book:
Introduction: navigating multilevel governance in aquaculture, by N Bankes, I Dahl, and DL VanderZwaag.
The international law and policy seascape for aquaculture: navigating tangled currents by DL VanderZwaag.
Aquaculture governance in Canada: a patchwork of approaches, by P Saunders and M Doelle.
Conclusion: a summary of common themes, by N Bankes, I Dahl and DL VanderZwaag.
This article compares the law and policy frameworks for protecting marine species at risk in Australia and Canada. The sea of practical challenges is examined, including achieving listing of threatened commercial species; attaining timely and effective recovery planning; and identifying and protecting critical habitats. (Full publication)
(book chapter in Geoinformatics for Marine and Coastal Management) This book provides a timely and valuable assessment of the current state of the art geoinformatics tools and methods for the management of marine systems. This book focuses on the cutting-edge coverage of a wide spectrum of activities and topics such as GIS-based application of drainage basin analysis, contribution of ontology to marine management, geoinformatics in relation to fisheries management, hydrography, indigenous knowledge systems, and marine law enforcement. The authors present a comprehensive overview of the field of Geoinformatic Applications in Marine Management covering key issues and debates with specific case studies illustrating real-world applications of the GIS technology. This “box of tools” serves as a long-term resource for coastal zone managers, professionals, practitioners, and students alike on the management of oceans and the coastal fringe, promoting the approach of allowing sustainable and integrated use of oceans to maximize opportunities while keeping risks and hazards to a minimum. (Full Publication)
The southern and Atlantic bluefin tunas are highly valuable and heavily fished, such that there are concerns over the biomass of each species. While sharing some similarities, the species are managed in different geographical, political, and socioeconomic contexts. This article examines the complexities of managing these highly migratory species, recognizing that developments in science, most notably in ocean tracking, have a significant potential to improve management. Notwithstanding such developments, the critical element in management of bluefin tuna species remains political commitments to sustainable catches. (Full publication)
The federal government has set promising new directions for the sustainability of Canada’s fisheries and oceans. Among various commitments, Minister Hunter Tootoo will increase the extent of marine protected areas and review legislative changes made by the previous government. These initiatives will help bring Canada in line with other major coastal nations. (Full publication)
There is an urgent need to increase global renewable energy production as a method of lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in order to avoid the more devastating effects of climate change and ocean acidification. The latest figures from the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), suggest that the international community must reduce anthropogenic GHG emissions by 40 to 70 percent from 2010 levels by 2050, and should aim for near zero emissions by 2100. This would likely keep temperature change below 20C relative to pre-industrial levels, and would therefore reduce the risk of predicted effects of climate change, such as inland flooding, extreme weather events, food security, and the loss of marine and coastal ecosystems and biodiversity. (Full publication)
Canadian ocean governance in the Anthropocene: legal laments and promises. Coastal Watersheds in the Anthropocene: Understanding Rapid Change and Implications for People and Ecosystems; Waterloo, ON.
Getting Canada’s Oceans Act together: progressions, depressions, questions. Oceans 20: Canada’s Oceans Act; Ottawa, ON.
Adaptive ecosystem approach for a changing ocean: challenges and obligations for transboundary fisheries management. Governance of Changing Oceans Workshop, K.G. Jebsen Centre, University of Tromsø, and Schulich School of Law; Halifax, NS.
Ecosystem approach and transboundary fisheries. OceanCanada Conference; Vancouver, BC.
Ecosystem approach in international fisheries law and policy. Workshop on Integrated Fisheries Management, Marine and Environmental Law Institute, Dalhousie University; Halifax, NS.
Implementation with respect to species at risk. Workshop on Integrated Fisheries Management, Marine and Environmental Law Institute, Dalhousie University; Halifax, NS.
The failure of international law to protect Pacific coast salmon: lessons for marine policy on the East Coast. Memorial University Coastal Matters Speaker Series; Humber Arm, NL.
Responding to oil spills while protecting the marine environment: review of product authorization and net environmental benefit analysis in the IMO dispersant use guidelines. Governance of Changing Oceans Workshop, K.G. Jebsen Centre, University of Tromsø, and Schulich School of Law; Halifax, NS.
Review of implementation in existing IFMPs. Workshop on Integrated Fisheries Management, Marine and Environmental Law Institute, Dalhousie University; Halifax, NS.
Canadian fisheries law and policy: implementation of sustainability principles. Governance of Changing Oceans Workshop, K.G. Jebsen Centre, University of Tromsø, and Schulich School of Law; Halifax, NS.
Climate change and transboundary fisheries: continuity and adaptation in legal structure. OceanCanada Conference; Vancouver, BC.
Implementation of sustainability principles in Canadian fisheries law and policy. Workshop on Integrated Fisheries Management, Marine and Environmental Law Institute, Dalhousie University; Halifax, NS
Renewable energy projects and spatial tenure in the offshore. Offshore Renewable Energy Governance Panel, EU Centre of Excellence, Dalhousie University; Halifax, NS.
The role of adjudication in settlement of maritime disputes: issues arising from the South China Sea arbitration. 4th East Asia Maritime Security Forum; Nanjing, China.
UNCLOS zones and maritime boundary delimitation: overview of legal principles. China-ASEAN Training Course; Hainan, China.
Assessment of Gaps – Law, Policy and Implementation. Workshop on Integrated Fisheries Management, Marine and Environmental Law Institute, Dalhousie University; Halifax, NS.
Canada and the protection of marine species at risk: paper promises, paltry progressions. International Marine Conservation Congress; St. John’s, NL.
Canadian fisheries management: moving from legal laggard to legislative leader. Oceana Canada Science Symposium; Ottawa, ON.
International law and marine biodiversity conservation: tangled currents, foggy future. Paper presented at: China-ASEAN Training Course; Hainan, China.
Marine species on the move in the northwest Atlantic: a sea of transboundary governance challenges. Governance of Changing Oceans Workshop, K.G. Jebsen Centre, University of Tromsø, and Schulich School of Law, Halifax, NS; Species on the Move Conference, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) and University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia; Coastal Zone Canada Conference, OceanCanada Panel, Toronto, ON; OceanCanada Conference; Vancouver, BC.
Ocean acidification: a tangled and tepid international governance seascape. World Environmental Law Congress, Biodiversity and Marine Ecosystems Session, Supreme Court of the State of Rio de Janeiro; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The precautionary approach in international law and policy: beacon of hope, sea of confusion. Workshop on Integrated Fisheries Management, Marine and Environmental Law Institute, Dalhousie University; Halifax, NS.
Renewable ocean energy and the international law and policy seascape: tangled currents. Offshore Renewable Energy Governance Panel, EU Centre of Excellence, Dalhousie University; Halifax, NS.
Climate change and the international law of fisheries: continuity and adaptation in legal structures. Korean Maritime Institute Global Ocean Regime Conference; Jeju, Korea.
Governance of aquaculture in Canada: regulation property rights and constitutional impediments. Special Session on Aquaculture Law and Policy. International Conference on Aquaculture and Fisheries; Brisbane, Australia.
Management of highly migratory species: coherence, chaos and creative conflict. Canadian Council on International Law; Ottawa, ON.
Renewable energy projects and spatial tenure in the offshore. European Centre of Excellence, Dalhousie University; Halifax, NS.
Assessment of gaps – law, policy and implementation. Workshop on Integrated Fisheries Management, Marine and Environmental Law Institute, Dalhousie University; Halifax, NS.
Canadian ocean law and policy: leading, lagging, losing. Royal Society of Canada Symposium, Canadian Marine Biodiversity: Resources, Opportunities, Responsibilities; Victoria, BC.
The international law and policy seascape for aquaculture: tangled currents. Aquaculture Law and Policy Workshop, Fridtjof Nansen Institute; Oslo, Norway.
The law and policy seascape for aquaculture: charting future coordinates. FAO Aquaculture Zoning, Site Selection and Area Management Workshop; Izmir, Turkey.
Towards sustainable aquaculture: navigating international law and policy currents. International Workshop on Aquaculture Law and Policy, KG Jebsen Centre for the Law of the Sea, Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Oslo, Norway; Special Session on Aquaculture Law and Policy, International Conference on Aquaculture and Fisheries, Brisbane, Australia.