Capstone Team G: Applying the RAD Framework in Climate Informed Planning and Decision Making

This post was written to report the work of Capstone Team G, one of the teams of Park Leaders involved in the Winter 2021 Park Leaders Development Program

With the growing pressure of climate change, cultural and natural heritage sites in Canada’s parks and protected areas are facing continuously greater challenges. Parks leaders and stakeholders are having to problem solve on tight timelines, tighter budgets, and with the knowledge that many Canadians have a vested interest in the outcome of their decisions. Our capstone team was interested in understanding the challenges that come with making these decisions, and ways in which to simplify complex decision making processes.

Our interest began with wanting to explore both the natural and cultural impacts of climate change. Often, cultural landmarks are left out of the discussion when talking about the impacts of climate change on Canada’s landscape. However, valuable cultural sites, such as the centuries old Totem Pole stand at Haida Gwaii, are facing possible destruction as a direct result of rising sea levels. Important decisions are being made on whether or not to preserve these landmarks, and how to do so.

Our group was first inspired by the infographic created by Capstone Team A in the Fall 2020 CPCIL eResidency. Capstone Team A had created an infographic outlining climate-informed planning and decision making when responding to climate change in Canada’s parks and protected areas. Our goal was to further their study by focusing on one decision making tool to see how it would fare in climate-informed decision making. 

 

During the winter 2021 eResidency, we learned about the Resist-Accept-Direct (RAD) framework for decision making. Published in December 2020, the RAD framework is a decision making tool created by the National Park Service. The decision maker has three options when approaching a problem: resist change, accept change, or direct change. The RAD framework lays out clear avenues of thought when making climate change-related decisions. Throughout the months that followed the eResidency, our team researched many decision making tools, however the RAD framework continued to prove the most relevant when approaching natural and cultural heritage.

 

With this in mind, and the permission of Capstone Team A, we decided to update their infographic to integrate the RAD framework and include cultural resources as well as natural resources. We found the RAD framework could be tested using real conservation case studies. We also found in our exploration of decision making tools, that while many tools exist, few are tailored specifically to climate change, and even fewer address climate change as it relates to natural and cultural heritage sites. This is an area where little work has been done. We think that expanding upon this topic will not only be of interest in the future, but necessary to preserve, or accept the loss of, Canada’s natural and cultural heritage landmarks.

Open .pdf of Infographic

 Decision making in Canada’s parks and protected areas will only get more complex with the increasing pressure of climate change. The infographic that we have created can contribute to park leadership by laying out a simple, yet effective method of working through difficult decisions. It also shows that these decisions do not need to be made in isolation. Many leaders across Canada are facing similar issues, and coming together to discuss seemingly impossible decisions will help foster a dialogue in which ideas can be shared, problems can be solved, and ultimately, responsible and tough decisions can be made.

 

Moving forward, we believe next steps could include:

  1. Sharing the updated graphic across the parks network via the CPCIL website 
  2. Our team sharing the infographic internally within our park organizations, and offering our cohort to do the same
  3. Future CPCIL Capstone groups looking further into case studies, and put this theory into practice with the help of site managers and stakeholders. Examples our team explored to determine the usefulness of decision making tools include:
  • The declining Woodland Caribou herd in Jasper National Park due to altered predator-prey dynamics, human disturbance, and habitat loss.
  • Rising sea levels impacting the existence of the totem poles in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve.
  • Other sensitive climate change impacted examples currently under review with various park agencies.

A Conversation About Marine Conservation in Canada Through the Use of Parks and Protected Areas

Hameet Singh is part of a team of CPCIL Research and Knowledge Gatherers producing content and compiling resources on themes such as inclusion, ecosocial justice, partnerships, conservation, organizational sustainability, climate change and biodiversity, connection to nature, conservation financing, and ecotourism, to support effective and equitable leadership and inclusion in parks and protected areas across Canada

The following is a series of Q and A with a Parks Canada representative concerning the various types of marine protected areas (MPAs) in a Canadian context. For more information on MPAs, please visit the “Federal Marine Protected Area Strategy”

 Q1: What is your professional background and what motivated you to pursue your career of choice?

A1: My undergraduate studies were in geography at Queen’s University, and then I moved into education and taught in the GIS realm for about 10 years. I went on to do my Master’s in Conservation Planning. My Master’s thesis examined zoning in the lower South Okanagan-Similkameen Region. At this time, I also became interested in modeling tools, and in particular, I worked with a tool that is used in systematic planning and zoning. From that, I was employed by an NGO called Living Oceans in British Columbia. Eventually, I ended up working with Parks Canada starting in 2007 and for the first 10 years of my career here, I largely focused on establishment projects, including zoning for subterrestrial national parks. I have also worked on the interim zoning plan for Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, and zoning for the proposed Southern Strait of Georgia National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA). I have also started to work in the consultation realm and have managed a proposal to examine the potential to establish national park lands on Bowen Island. I am now based in Revelstoke, British Columbia, and my current role is in Investment Planning with a two-year assignment in the Marine Conservation Group, Protected Areas Establishment and Conservation Directorate of Parks Canada. My tasks include developing policy and regulations to support NMCAs.

Q2: Could you please define what an MPA is in a Canadian context?  

A2: There are a number of different MPAs in Canada and three government departments that can establish and manage an MPA: 

NMCAs are Parks Canada’s instrument.  NMCAs are established and managed for the purpose of protecting representative marine areas for the benefit, education and enjoyment of the people of Canada and the world. One of the themes that are unique about the NMCA program is the focus on representativity – we have a system plan similar to our National Parks in which we divide Canada into 29 national marine regions and our goal is to represent each one with an NMCA. We also have a strong emphasis on education, outreach and promoting memorable visitor experiences. There are seven management goals of NMCAs that address the three pillars of sustainability:

  1. Protect marine biodiversity and ecosystems 
  2. Advance effective collaboration for management 
  3. Manage use in an ecologically sustainable manner 
  4. Conserve cultural heritage 
  5. Foster long-term wellbeing of coastal and Indigenous communities 
  6. Facilitate opportunities for meaningful visitor experience 
  7. Enhance awareness and understand of NMCAs 

Q3: What is the process of establishing an NMCA? 

A3: There is a five-step process: 

  1. Identifying representative marine areas 
  2. Select candidate NMCA from among the representative marine areas
    • Examine a range of factors, including ecological representation, collaboration with Indigenous organizations, other governments (provincial, territorial, municipal) or departments, and complementarity with regional and national MPA planning processes 
  3. Assess feasibility/desirability of establishing a candidate NMCA  
    • Work with Indigenous groups, other governments, stakeholders, etc, to compile background information and explore the opportunities and challenges that are presented which is then summarized in a feasibility report 
  4. Negotiating agreements and developing an interim management plan 
    • Agreements can be made with First Nations or other governments/departments. The interim plan will guide the management of the area for the first five years before an actual management plan is developed. The interim management plan contains topics such as a vision for the area, management goals and objectives, zoning, and any restrictions or limitations that have been agreed to through the negotiation process 
  5. Establish NMCA 

Q4: How are NMCAs governed in Canada? What is the primary legislation used to establish and govern them? 

A4: The primary legislation is the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act. Under this act, we have the authority to establish and manage NMCAs to the extent that other federal government departments do not already have authority in the region. For example, if we developed a management plan, we would not be able to manage fisheries without DFO approval. We would work collaboratively with DFO who would have to sign off on any decisions made with respect to fisheries management. There is a wide suite of other legislation that would apply in an NMCA, which can make its governance very complex.

Q5: What are some of the tools that Parks Canada uses to monitor and manage NMCAs?

A5: We use various tools to achieve our goals with respect to NMCAs, such as zoning, special management areas voluntary measures, monitoring and research (to assess the state of the existing environment), management planning processes, legislation and regulations, permitting processes, education and awareness, temporary closures, etc. 

Q6: In September 2019, the government announced new goals of protecting 25% of Canada’s oceans by 2025. Canada surpassed its previous goal of attaining 10% protection by 2020 with the establishment of larger MPAs in the north. Could you please speak to the importance of ocean targets such as these and how the government goes about achieving them? 

A6: The goals are essentially our marching orders and are part of the departmental plan, our budget and the minister’s mandate. We are working towards achieving 25% by 2025 and 30% by 2030 and have commitments made towards the establishment of various parks across Canada. Parks Canada has contributed a significant portion to the achievement of these goals. There are five proposed NMCAs, namely: 

  1. Îles-de-la-Madeleine – Quebec 
  2. Southern Strait of Georgia – British Columbia 
  3. Eastern James Bay – Ontario 
  4. Tallurutiup Imanga – Nunavut 
  5. Labrador Coast – Newfoundland and Labrador 

Q7: What is the value of having a network of NMCAs?  

A7: We are seeing a decline in marine biodiversity, abundance of species and other threats to the oceans with respect to industrial development, climate change and other stressors. There are also concerns regarding the rate of extractive usage. Canada’s oceans are extremely valuable and they provide a multitude of ecological services, so their preservation is very important. 

Q8: What role do local communities play in the establishment of NMCAs? 

A8: Local community support is very important to Parks Canada. For example, we did a feasibility study that I was involved with on Bowen Island, and the community decided to conduct a public vote which resulted in a rejection of the proposal, so we walked away. This is a component that is extremely important to us and we want to have the support of local communities, and in particular, the support of Indigenous Peoples. 

Q9: What are some of the bigger challenges in achieving marine sustainability and how can they be overcome?

A9: For me, it’s working around the complexity of the overlapping authoritative bodies. I am currently working on developing regulations, and this can only be done in the areas that we have the authority to do so. If there is an area concerning fisheries, we must collaborate with Fisheries and Ocean’s Canada. There are usually two components when it comes to protected areas – their establishment and effective management. We currently do not have regulations under the NMCA Act, and these are in development so that we can manage these areas more effectively. The collaborative component can get complicated because it tends to take up a lot of time and resources to do so and reach a consensus. 

Q10: What advice would you give to someone who is starting out in their career and wants to work in marine conservation?

A10: Follow your passion and interest because a lot of people who go into this field are extremely passionate about the work that they do. Cater to the areas that you excel in (i.e. communications, social media, marketing, research and analysis, science, policy, planning, GIS etc) and leverage your area of expertise and background. It is sometimes difficult to obtain government positions, so if you are early in your career, environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOS) are a really great place to start (i.e. CPAWS, WWF-Canada, David Suzuki Foundation, etc).

Q11: What are some resources one could consult if they wanted to know more about this topic? 

A11: I would recommend and consult the resources and documents that the International Union on the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has published on this topic. 

MPA 101: Marine Protected Area Networks

By Hameet Singh and Rachel Goldstein

Hameet Singh and Rachel Goldstein are part of a team of CPCIL Research and Knowledge Gatherers producing content and compiling resources on themes such as inclusion, ecosocial justice, partnerships, conservation, organizational sustainability, climate change and biodiversity, connection to nature, conservation financing, and ecotourism, to support effective and equitable leadership and inclusion in parks and protected areas across Canada.

MPA Technical Report by Rachel Goldstein and Hameet Singh.
Click to read the full report.

An MPA network is defined by the IUCN as, “a collection of individual MPAs that operate co-operatively and synergistically, at various spatial scales, and with a range of protection levels, in order to fulfill ecological aims more effectively and comprehensively than individual sites could alone (1).” While an individual MPA can bring a myriad of social, ecological, and economic benefits, it is ultimately limited in its capacity to achieve marine sustainability because they do not address the highly intricate and connected nature of ecosystems (2).

Figure 1: Footage from a wildlife camera showing a black bear using a wildlife crossing in Kootenay National Park. Credit: CBC

MPA networks strive to fulfill this gap by ensuring connectivity between singular reserves. They are akin to the concept of wildlife corridors, which are often implemented in terrestrial parks to combat against fragmentation and better facilitate the movement of species. These corridors have shown evidence of increased habitat connectivity and decreased wildlife fatalities, with the ones used in Banff and Kootenay National Parks (Figure 1) reducing wildlife collisions by more than 90% (3). They can also increase genetic diversity and combat inbreeding in isolated populations, which often occurs when habitats are fragmented. 

Figure 2: Graphic depicting now MPA networks work to ensure connectivity between individual sites and habitats. Credit: DFO

Established in strategic locations, MPA networks work in similar ways and provide parallel benefits. They can better align with the critical habitats, migration patterns and ecological niches of the species that they strive to protect. MPA networks enhance the benefits a single MPA brings because they are more biologically integrated and provide connectivity between marine ecosystems, in turn improving their productivity (4). They consist of core protected habitats connected by corridors to allow species movement between specific sites (Figure 2) (5). Certain design principles entailing size, strategic placing, spatial distribution and management regulations and taking into account context-specific factors can further increase the functionality and effectiveness of MPA networks (2). Furthermore, by establishing spatial links, MPA networks maintain ecosystem processes and improve ocean resilience to larger threats like climate change through the relocation of risks (6). 

Synergically placed, the creation of protected pathways implemented in MPA networks allows species to maintain their migratory routes, protects key habitat areas and ensures overall marine sustainability. However, the establishment of MPA networks also comes with unique challenges, such as difficulty of working across various jurisdictions, broader consultation of stakeholders involved, and the complexity of monitoring and managing a larger marine space (7). There are examples of MPA networks established around the world, including the Scottish MPA network (8), California’s MPA network (9), and the networks encompassing the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (10). Canada is working to establish an MPA network off the coast of British Columbia and is also involved in the North American MPA Network (NAMPAN). 

Canada-British Columbia Marine Protected Area Network

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is working towards establishing the Canada-British Columbia MPA network off of Canada’s Pacific coast. The network is currently in development and is a collaborative effort between the Government of Canada, the Government of British Columbia and First Nations communities (11). Pacific Canada’s marine environment is richly biodiverse and productive, making it a significant area for the establishment of an MPA network. It also hosts culturally and historically significant facets such as archaeological sites, shipwrecks, and areas of spiritual importance to Indigenous peoples. The Canada-British Columbia MPA network will ensure the protection of marine ecosystems, contribute to the achievement of Canada’s conservation goals, and preserve the country’s rich cultural heritage.

The North American Marine Protected Areas Network (NAMPAN)

NAMPAN is a significant and joint effort between Canada, the United States and Mexico to create a continental-wide system of MPA networks, spanning the oceans connecting all three nations. It was established with the support of the Biodiversity Conservation Program of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation in North America (CEC) in 1999 (12). The goal of NAMPAN is to establish an effective system of national MPA networks that enhances and protects marine biodiversity, through the support of tri-national managers, scientists and policy makers. It promotes cooperation between the three nations by addressing common challenges that they share and provides important learning opportunities for practitioners to strengthen their local marine management.  It strives to build stewardship through the local, regional, national and international levels through the exchange of knowledge and dialogue.

Figure 3: The Baja California to Bering Sea Region (B2B) has been identified as an Ecologically Significant Region. Credit: CEC

NAMPAN’s objective is similar to the Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) initiative at the terrestrial level (13), with the Baja California to Bering Sea region (B2B) identified as an Ecologically Significant Region having high potential for collaborative opportunities (Figure 3) (14). It is represented by the US through NOAA’s National Marine Protected Areas Centre, by Canada through Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Parks Canada, and by Mexico through the Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (15). NAMPAN also provides an opportunity to fortify the scientific literature on the behaviour of migratory species that cross tri-national boundaries, such as wintering waterfowl travelling from Canada to the Yucatan Peninsula, or the gray whale, which has the longest known migration route of any mammal, traversing from the cold waters off the coast of Alaska, to the warm, sheltered lagoons of the Baja Peninsula (16). NAMPAN also provides regular professional development opportunities for practitioners through webinars and conferences, with content presented by scientists and managers from all three nations. 

MPA networks support marine ecosystem functionality through encompassing temporal and spatial scales in their design. They also better protect ecological integrity if strategically placed and fortify the resilience of systems. MPA networks are required to maintain ecological linkages, preserve habitat distribution patterns of species, and achieve ocean sustainability. 

References

    1. MPA Network BC Northern Shelf (n.d.). About MPAs. Retrieved from: https://mpanetwork.ca/bcnorthernshelf/about-mpas/
    2.  Burt et al (2014). Marine Protected Area Network Design Features That Support Resilient Human-Ocean Systems. Retrieved from: https://www.sfu.ca/content/dam/sfu/coastal/Burt_et_al_2014_MPA_Network_Design_Features_That_Support_Resilient_Human-Ocean_Systems.pdf.pdf
    3. Robbins, Jim (2011). Can Wildlife Corridors Heal Fragmented Landscapes? Retrieved from: https://e360.yale.edu/features/ecological_corridors_connecting_fragmented_pockets_of_wildlife_habitat
    4. PEW (2020). The Need for a Network of Marine Protected Areas in the Southern Ocean. Retrieved from: https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/issue-briefs/2020/10/the-need-for-a-network-of-marine-protected-areas-in-the-southern-ocean
    5. NOAA (n.d.). Ecological Connectivity for Marine Protected Areas. Retrieved from: https://nmsmarineprotectedareas.blob.core.windows.net/marineprotectedareas-prod/media/docs/20201103-ecological-connectivity-for-mpas.pdf
    6. IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (IUCN-WCPA) (2008). Establishing Marine Protected Area Networks—Making It Happen. Washington, D.C.: IUCN-WCPA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and The Nature Conservancy.
    7. WCPA/IUCN (2007). Establishing networks of marine protected areas: A guide for developing national and regional capacity for building MPA networks. Retrieved from: https://www.cbd.int/doc/pa/tools/Establishing%20Marine%20Protected%20Area%20Networks.pdf
    8. Hopkins, C. R., Bailey, D. M., & Potts, T. (2016). Scotland’s Marine Protected Area network: reviewing progress towards achieving commitments for marine conservation. Marine Policy, 71, 44-53.
    9. California Department of Fish and Wildlife (2021). California’s Marine Protected Area (MPA) Network. Retrieved from: https://wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/MPAs/Network
    10. McCook, L. J., Ayling, T., Cappo, M., Choat, J. H., Evans, R. D., De Freitas, D. M., … & Williamson, D. H. (2010). Adaptive management of the Great Barrier Reef: a globally significant demonstration of the benefits of networks of marine reserves. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(43), 18278-18285.
    11. DFO (2017). Canada-British Columbia Marine Protected Area Network Strategy. Retrieved from: https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans/publications/mpabc-cbzpm/index-eng.html
    12. NOAA (n.d.). North American Marine Protected Areas Network. Retrieved from: https://marineprotectedareas.noaa.gov/nationalsystem/international/nampan/
    13. Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (2021). Vision and mission. Retrieved from: https://y2y.net/about/vision-mission/
    14. Commission for Environmental Cooperation (2021). Baja to Bering Region. Retrieved from: http://www.cec.org/north-american-environmental-atlas/baja-to-bering-region/#:~:text=The%20Baja%20California%20to%20Bering,by%20the%20CEC%20in%202000
    15. NAMPAN (n.d.). Community. Retrieved from: https://nampan.openchannels.org/nampan-community
    16. Jones, M. L., Swartz, S. L., & Leatherwood, S. (Eds.). (2012). The gray whale: Eschrichtius robustus. Academic Press.
    17. CBC News (2014). Parks Canada video catches 1st black bear to use wildlife crossing. Retrieved from: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/parks-canada-video-catches-1st-black-bear-to-use-wildlife-crossing-1.2804341
    18. DFO (2018). What is the network? Retrieved from: https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans/networks-reseaux/info-eng.html

MPA 101: Freshwater Protected Areas

By Hameet Singh and Rachel Goldstein

Hameet Singh and Rachel Goldstein are part of a team of CPCIL Research and Knowledge Gatherers producing content and compiling resources on themes such as inclusion, ecosocial justice, partnerships, conservation, organizational sustainability, climate change and biodiversity, connection to nature, conservation financing, and ecotourism, to support effective and equitable leadership and inclusion in parks and protected areas across Canada.

MPA Technical Report by Rachel Goldstein and Hameet Singh.
Click to read the full report.

MPAs are increasingly receiving more coverage and recognition as an invaluable tool in the protection and rejuvenation of important marine species diversity. However, freshwater biodiversity still continues to decline in rivers, lakes and wetlands, threatened by irrigation, invasive species, changes in hydrology, pollution, and industrial and domestic overuse (1). Freshwater fish have become the world’s most endangered group of vertebrates after amphibians and may become extinct in the next 20-25 years (2).

Figure 1: Algal Bloom in Lake Erie. Credit: Canadian Freshwater Alliance.

It is also projected that the extinction rate of freshwater species will be about five times more than of terrestrial species and three times more than coastal marine species. Canada constitutes 20% of the world’s surface freshwater (3) and is considered abundant in this precious resource. Nevertheless, freshwater here is also in peril, with the Great Lakes falling victim to algal blooms (4) (Figure 1), the South Saskatchewan River in Alberta being overexploited (5), and the Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories becoming contaminated by mining run-off and waste (6). Freshwater protected areas (FWPAs) are one solution proposed to combat such changes, established to safeguard inland freshwaters that are crucial to human society and wildlife. FWPAs and the conservation of freshwater resources have been found to be central to sustaining biodiversity (7), as freshwater ecosystems have the greatest species diversity per unit area (8). They also provide ecosystem services and sustain economies and communities, providing benefit for fishing, tourism and agriculture to name a few. 

Challenges

Despite their benefits, few FWPAs exist, and freshwater habitats are usually included as a part of terrestrial reserves, which does not ensure their protection. Activities such as dam building (Figure 2), road infrastructure or the diversion of water can still occur within or on the fringes of park boundaries, having negative impacts on freshwater ecosystems (2).  An effective FWPA system is lacking in most parts of the world, and many of those that are implemented are by chance due to being a part of a larger encompassing terrestrial protected area (9). Research and study in the area of FWPAs is also deficient, with traditional theories of conservation misaligning with the freshwater realm and insufficient monitoring to support their implementation (10). Furthermore, conservation planning in the case of freshwater has been traditionally lagging largely due to the spatial and temporal connectivity complexities that characterize freshwater systems (8).

Figure 2: Dams and water crossings located within Ontario's protected areas. Credit: MNR

A myriad of political, economic and cultural facets can also make FWPA planning difficult, with jurisdictional divisions within and across national boundaries (as is the case in the Great Lakes) obstructing efforts to create freshwater exclusive protected areas (2).  Such problems are worsened in the case of river systems due to the long distances that they can traverse. Freshwater habitats are also central sites of human settlement, and as such, the formation of FWPAs can require several negotiation and consultation phases with local communities and relevant stakeholders (11). 

Opportunities

Several prospects and management strategies exist to unlock the potential of FWPAs. One such method is the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (RAMSAR), the first of the global nature conservation conventions (12) and the most extensive list of sites focusing on wetland conservation (9). Signed in 1971, RAMSAR provides an international framework for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands around the world, including lakes and rivers, underground aquifers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands, peatlands, oases, brackish estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, mangroves and other coastal areas, coral reefs, and all human-made sites such as fishponds, rice paddies, reservoirs and salt pans (12). Canada has 37 designated RAMSAR sites, implemented through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and the Canadian Federal Government Policy on Wetland Conservation (13). This includes the Queen Maud Gulf Migratory Bird Sanctuary (Figure 3), which is also the second largest RAMSAR site in the world (11). In addition, a system for heritage or wild rivers can serve as a good representation of traditional protected area management better fitting the freshwater environment (14).

Figure 3: Ross's and snow geese at the Queen Maud Gulf Migratory Bird Sanctuary, a RAMSAR designated site. Credit: Canada C3

The Canadian Heritage Rivers System (CHRS), created in 1984, is one such example of this (15). It is a collaborative effort between the federal, provincial and territorial governments, aimed to promote, protect, and enhance Canada’s river heritage (16). The CHRS works with local managers and stewardship groups to ensure the ecological integrity of their associated designated rivers. However, a gap that remains to be addressed is that the CHRS does not prohibit or mandate any activities (14). Furthermore, to overcome multi-jurisdictional obstacles, the International Joint Commission (IJC) was set up by the Boundary Waters Treaty as a bi-national organization between the governments of Canada and the United States to cooperatively manage waters along the border (17). The IJC is an example of a collaborative freshwater management approach to the improvement of water quality and other issues that benefits both nations. Other examples of freshwater stewardship within the vein of protected areas include inland fishery reserves, riparian buffer zones (14), integrated connectivity and watershed planning (8), and increased research and monitoring (18). 

The Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area

The Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA), operated by Parks Canada and located near Thunder Bay, Ontario, is the largest FWPA in the world (19) (Figure 4). It has a surface area of 10,000 km2 , covering a third of the Canadian portion of Lake Superior, and is home to 70 species of freshwater fish, including lake herring, walleye, yellow perch, lake whitefish, lake trout and brook trout. Other species include herring gulls, woodland caribou, cormorants, great blue herons, wolves, bald eagles, osprey, peregrine falcons, bears, moose and white pelicans.

Figure 4: Extent of the Lake Superior NMCA. Credit: DFO

The extent of the NMCA includes the lakebed, islands and shorelands. In addition to the ecology, it also houses important historical and geological structures – fossils that date back 2.1 billion years ago, showcasing the beginnings of life on earth, shipwrecks, and indications of human presence going back at least 5000 years by the pictographs found in the park (20). Besides protecting the region’s ecological, geological and historical significance, the NMCA has a high potential for tourism, providing boating, fishing, kayaking and other recreational opportunities (21). 

FWPAs such as the Lake Superior NMCA have a strong potential to conserve falling freshwater biodiversity and protect it from ongoing threats. While they cannot be the only strategy, FWPAs should form a larger, encompassing management approach to safeguard freshwater ecosystems and ensure their life-sustaining functionality.  



References

  1. Combes, Stacey (2003). Protecting Freshwater Ecosystems in the Face of Global Climate Change. Retrieved from “Buying Time: A User Manual” – Land Trust Alliance
  2. Saunders, D. L., Meeuwig, J. J., & Vincent, A. C. (2002). Freshwater Protected Areas: Strategies for Conservation. Conservation Biology, 16(1), 30-41.
  3. Statistics Canada (2018). Environment. Retrieved from: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-402-x/2011000/chap/env/env-eng.htm
  4. Environmental Defence (n.d.) Safeguarding Canada’s Water. Retrieved from: https://environmentaldefence.ca/campaign/water/
  5. Weber, Bob for Global News (2019). Canada’s abundance of fresh water under threat from toxic algae, climate change. Retrieved from: https://globalnews.ca/news/6190102/fresh-water-canada-climate-change/
  6. Piper, Liza for The Canadian Encyclopedia (2016). Great Slave Lake. Retrieved from: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/great-slave-lake#:~:text=Pollution%20from%20local%20mining%20activities,now%20stored%20in%20underground%20chambers.
  7. Finlayson, C. M., Arthington, A. H., & Pittock, J. (Eds.). (2018). Freshwater ecosystems in protected areas: Conservation and management. Routledge.
  8. Pittock, J., Finlayson, M., Arthington, A. H., Roux, D., Matthews, J. H., Biggs, H., … & Viers, J. (2015). Managing freshwater, river, wetland and estuarine protected areas. Protected area governance and management, 569-608.
  9. Juffe‐Bignoli, D., Harrison, I., Butchart, S. H., Flitcroft, R., Hermoso, V., Jonas, H., … & Van Soesbergen, A. (2016). Achieving Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 to improve the performance of protected areas and conserve freshwater biodiversity. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 26, 133-151.
  10. Hermoso, V., Abell, R., Linke, S., & Boon, P. (2016). The role of protected areas for freshwater biodiversity conservation: challenges and opportunities in a rapidly changing world. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 26, 3-11.
  11. Pittock, Jamie for WWF (2005). Challenges of freshwater protected areas. Retrieved from: https://wwf.panda.org/?uNewsID=17772
  12. Government of Canada (2020). Internationally important wetlands: Ramsar Convention. Retrieved from: https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/corporate/international-affairs/partnerships-organizations/important-wetlands-ramsar-convention.html
  13. Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (n.d.). Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. Retrieved from: http://www.ramp-alberta.org/management/framework/treaties/ramsar.aspx
  14. Abell, R., Allan, J. D., & Lehner, B. (2007). Unlocking the potential of protected areas for freshwaters. Biological Conservation, 134(1), 48-63.
  15. CHRS (n.d.). About Us. Retrieved from: https://chrs.ca/en/about-chrs
  16. Government of Nunavut (n.d.). Canadian Heritage Rivers. Retrieved from: https://www.gov.nu.ca/environment/information/canadian-heritage-rivers
  17. International Joint Commission (2020). Role of the IJC. Retrieved from: https://www.ijc.org/en/who/role
  18. Acreman, M., Hughes, K. A., Arthington, A. H., Tickner, D., & Duenas, M. A. (2019). Protected areas and freshwater biodiversity: A novel systematic review distils eight lessons for effective conservation. Conservation Letters.
  19. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (2017). Spotlight on Marine Protected Areas in Canada. Retrieved from: https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans/publications/mpaspotlight-pleinsfeuxzpm/index-eng.html
  20. IJC (2015). Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area Protects World’s Largest Freshwater Lake. Retrieved from: https://www.ijc.org/en/lake-superior-national-marine-conservation-area-protects-worlds-largest-freshwater-lake
  21. Lemelin, R. H., Koster, R., Woznicka, I., Metansinine, K., & Pelletier, H. (2010). Voyages to Kitchi Gami: the Lake Superior national marine conservation area and regional tourism opportunities in Canada’s first national marine conservation area. Tourism in marine environments, 6(2-3), 101-118.
  22. Canadian Freshwater Alliance (2020). NOAA’s Lake Erie algal bloom forecast proves that governments need to do more work to save the lake. Retrieved from: https://www.freshwateralliance.ca/algae_forecast_2020_media_release_2
  23. MNR (2019). State of Ontario’s Protected Areas Report. Retrieved from: https://www.ontario.ca/page/state-ontarios-protected-areas-report
  24. Canada C3. (n.d.). Queen Maud Gulf Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Retrieved from: https://canadac3.ca/en/expedition/the-places/queen-maud-gulf-migratory-bird-sanctuary/

Capstone F: Pathways to Cultural Competency

This post was written to report the work of Capstone Team F, one of the teams of Park Leaders involved in the Winter 2021 Park Leaders Development Program

Team Members: Sarah Boyle, Brendan Buggeln, Megan Bull, Rachel Goldstein, Caroline Ipeelie-Qiatsuk, Tobi Kiesewalter

The federal and provincial governments of Canada have made commitments to advance reconciliation and renew relationships with Indigenous peoples based on rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. The road towards reconciliation is inevitably complex and difficult, and should involve the participation of all Canadians, on both a personal and professional level.

Every park, marine protected area, and heritage site administered by a parks organization in Canada is located within the traditional and ancestral territory of Indigenous peoples. This creates both an opportunity and a responsibility for parks leaders to advance reconciliation and foster respectful and positive relationships with Indigenous partners and communities.

Capstone Team F acknowledged that many non-Indigenous conservation staff, including at senior levels, have limited knowledge about how to develop cultural competency. While many staff want to learn more, they are often unsure where to start or become overwhelmed by the volume and complexity of resources, especially those designed for staff already experienced in working with Indigenous partners. As high-level discussions of reconciliation within parks continue to advance, there is a risk that the knowledge ‘ceiling’ may leave the ‘floor’ behind unless appropriate tools are available to help all parks employees develop baseline cultural competencies.

Capstone Team F’s goal was to create a collection of reconciliation-focused resources which allowed learners to proceed at their own pace. The resources were curated to allow for a natural progression from foundational learning on Indigenous communities and the impacts of colonialism toward constructive action to advance truth and reconciliation. To achieve this, the Team developed a user- friendly resource package, comprised of a thematically-organized database of resources and a suite of 12 learning pathways, all of which feature an organized set of resources centred around a particular theme. Most pathways are designed for learners with limited background of Canada-Indigenous relations, and each lists a Truth and Reconciliation Commission “Call to Action” which it aims to support.

The database and example pathways are by no means comprehensive, but provide a solid basis from which to begin a learning journey. The resource package may be used by supervisors to coordinate training sessions for staff (though it should never replace in-person training or the hiring of an Indigenous consultant), or it may be used by individual parks leaders for independent learning. The resource package is designed to develop cultural competency to help parks leaders advance reconciliation in their personal lives, in their professional relationships, and in their work. Above all, the resource package is intended to be a springboard for further learning, and to provide individual motivation for advancing reconciliation at a team, departmental or organizational level.

Recommendations for expanding the scope and increasing the impact of this work include:

Housing the database and learning pathways on a learning platform, such as the CPCIL website, where other users can continue to update the content

  • Testers, or site users, could provide feedback to help refine the tool, with the potential to add in a comment section or rating system so people can rate their experience with each resource as they use them.
  • The webpage would ideally be made publicly available, to make it accessible to a broader audience (e.g., teachers, municipal staff, health care workers).
  • Expansion of the database and pathways or the addition of other learning tools by future Capstone teams
  • A number of themes could continue to be explored and have pathways developed for them in the future, including but not limited to:
    • Northern cultural competency
    • Ethical Space
    • Environmental justice
    • Food sovereignty
    • Indigenous story and law
    • Status of women
    • Health
    • Language
    • Removing barriers to access
  • Some agencies, such as Parks Canada and the Federal Public Service, have invested significant resources towards creating in-depth learning websites and training resources, but these resources are not available publicly, even to other civil servants. Consideration should be given to options for providing access to these excellent resources to all civic servants, or the general public.

It is our hope that this Capstone project, and our recommendations for expanding the scope of the work, will contribute to existing efforts to advance understanding of Truth and Reconciliation in the public service. We have aimed to create a simple yet effective introduction to cultural competency, which may be useful to learners of all knowledge levels and spark motivation for a much deeper learning journey.

MPA 101: Human Wildlife Coexistence in Marine Protected Areas

By Hameet Singh and Rachel Goldstein

Hameet Singh and Rachel Goldstein are part of a team of CPCIL Research and Knowledge Gatherers producing content and compiling resources on themes such as inclusion, ecosocial justice, partnerships, conservation, organizational sustainability, climate change and biodiversity, connection to nature, conservation financing, and ecotourism, to support effective and equitable leadership and inclusion in parks and protected areas across Canada.

MPA Technical Report by Rachel Goldstein and Hameet Singh.
Click to read the full report.

The purpose of MPAs is to protect marine and coastal ecosystems. The result of protecting these ecosystems is inherently beneficial to humans due to the positive effect MPAs have on ecosystem services (1). At this point in time, we have polluted the ocean, overfished, dredged, and generally mismanaged the world’s greatest natural resource. Sea surface temperatures are rising, species are dying or else being inadvertently introduced where they do not belong (2). Without the ecosystem services offered by marine and coastal environments, the world’s economy will suffer (3). Without mangroves to prevent erosion, people’s homes are being swallowed by the sea (4). Without coral reefs, we’re losing one of the greatest habitats for marine life that is the sole livelihood for many coastal communities around the globe (5). Without coastal wetlands and healthy marine flora, carbon sequestration will diminish (6). We need MPAs to reverse or prevent further damage to coastal and marine environments. Protecting 10% of the earth’s marine environment is not enough to reverse the current state of disaster, but it is a start.

Tourism and Fisheries

Human-wildlife coexistence within MPAs primarily focuses on tourism, extracting natural resources, and stakeholder relationships. In 2018 the output value of the commercial fishing industry in Canada was 3.7 billion CAD (7). Marine tourism in British Columbia alone is worth 3.8 billion CAD annually (8). Over 74,000 Canadians make their living from fishing or fishing-related activities (7). It follows that healthy marine environments are vital to the success of the Canadian economy. A recent study of marine ecotourism on the Pacific coast of Canada determined that just 18% of the total economic value of marine tourism that took place in the area was within MPAs (9). The same study found a positive link between marine tourism and areas of high biodiversity, demonstrating that healthy and intact ecosystems are a key attractant in marine tourism (9).

Figure 1: Whale watching off the coast of Tadoussac, QU. Credit: Hans Bernhard

Furthermore, introducing marine ecotourism to coastal communities often has the benefit of boosting local economy and creating jobs (10). The added benefit of MPAs to ensure sustainable ecotourism has positive repercussions on local communities, including changing attitudes towards marine life. People who may not have otherwise taken an interest in marine conservation find that it is now in their best interest to prioritize conservation (10). 

Though it may seem counterintuitive, restricting fishing activities in MPAs can in fact boost the success of fisheries (11). Poorly managed and overfished fisheries benefit from having MPAs in close proximity, and can they often serve as a substitute for fishery reforms (1). MPAs provide a habitat for fish populations to rebound and thrive, which eventually leads to a spillover effect into the surrounding areas (1). The spillover effect occurs when there is spillover of larvae and adult fish into areas surrounding MPAs, increasing fishing yield and surrounding ecosystem health (1). According to a recent study, adding 5% more MPA coverage of the global ocean will generate 87% of the maximum possible spillover benefit from extra protection and produce 9 million metric tons of extra food per year (1). 

Figure 2: Blue shark, Atlantic Canada. Blue shark populations are in decline due to long line fishing off the coast of Nova Scotia. Credit: Nick Hawkins.

Protecting an additional 5% of the ocean with well-managed, strategically placed MPAs would cost 2-6 billion USD annually to manage, and the spillover effect would produce revenue of 15-19 billion USD annually (1). Another study of the effects of spillover from MPAs found that total catch in the surrounding area began to increase just one year after the MPA was implemented (11). In well-managed fisheries, MPAs may have little to no effect on the total catch, though in some cases can decrease overall catch (1). However, the non-market value of MPAs, such as carbon sequestration and preventing coastal erosion, must be considered in tandem to any financial losses that well-managed fisheries might incur.

MPAs and Stakeholder Involvement

MPAs, as with other conservation management strategies, have a long history of prioritizing conservation over the social impacts that imposing protective measures might have. When MPAs are established with the input and cooperation of all stakeholders, they are more likely to be successful and sustainable (12). In a Canadian context, this relates particularly to Indigenous involvement in the establishment and management of MPAs around the country. In order to properly involve Indigenous stakeholders, MPAs must at minimum demonstrate rights and title (13). This means the introduction of a potential MPA must ensure a traditional use study is completed, the MPA agenda must be linked to any treaty agenda, interim agreements must be negotiated while the long process of establishing an MPA is being completed, and finally, the MPA should be co-managed or have Indigenous driven conservation (13).
These recommendations are included in the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) report on collaboration with First Nations on MPAs in British Columbia, though it is far from an exhaustive list of the vital role that Indigenous knowledge and stakeholders play in the success of MPAs. Additionally, MPAs with no-take zones or fully protected areas must make exceptions for food, social, and ceremonial harvesting in terms of rights-based usage for Indigenous people (13).

Costs and Benefits of MPAs

The primary costs associated with MPAs are establishing and operating an MPA and the opportunity cost to commercial fisheries and other industries (6). Primary benefits include improving ecosystem health, provision of food and other materials for subsistence and commercial use, tourism and recreation, coastal protection, restoring biodiversity, and carbon sequestration (6). The costs of MPAs and benefits such as tourism revenue are easily quantifiable, however, many benefits such as restoring biodiversity and carbon sequestration have a myriad of financial benefits but have non-market value. It is particularly difficult to quantify benefits to the open ocean, arctic regions, and temperature regions, due to limited research. These areas encompass the majority of Canadian MPAs (12). Regardless, studies show that there is a strong relationship between higher levels of protection within an MPA and increased financial gain (6). Proper management of MPAs is also a significant factor in the financial success of an MPA. Improper management can disrupt the socio-economic stability of coastal communities by removing the benefits of fisheries, and through poor management, failing to improve ecosystem health and produce a spillover effect (12). It is therefore imperative that MPAs are continuously supported and well-managed after they are established.

When implemented and managed properly, MPAs help facilitate a mutually beneficial relationship between humans and wildlife (14). They also offer nature-based solutions to the growing climate crisis (14). Continuing to support the implementation of MPAs across Canada, in sensitive habitats as well as open ocean can mitigate negative impacts of human pressures to marine and coastal environments and assist in the effort to ensure these vital ecosystems remain intact (14).

References

  1. Combes, Stacey (2003). Protecting Freshwater Ecosystems in the Face of Global Climate Change. Retrieved from “Buying Time: A User Manual” – Land Trust Alliance
  2. Saunders, D. L., Meeuwig, J. J., & Vincent, A. C. (2002). Freshwater Protected Areas: Strategies for Conservation. Conservation Biology, 16(1), 30-41.
  3. Statistics Canada (2018). Environment. Retrieved from: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-402-x/2011000/chap/env/env-eng.htm
  4. Environmental Defence (n.d.) Safeguarding Canada’s Water. Retrieved from: https://environmentaldefence.ca/campaign/water/
  5. Weber, Bob for Global News (2019). Canada’s abundance of fresh water under threat from toxic algae, climate change. Retrieved from: https://globalnews.ca/news/6190102/fresh-water-canada-climate-change/
  6. Piper, Liza for The Canadian Encyclopedia (2016). Great Slave Lake. Retrieved from: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/great-slave-lake#:~:text=Pollution%20from%20local%20mining%20activities,now%20stored%20in%20underground%20chambers.
  7. Finlayson, C. M., Arthington, A. H., & Pittock, J. (Eds.). (2018). Freshwater ecosystems in protected areas: Conservation and management. Routledge.
  8. Pittock, J., Finlayson, M., Arthington, A. H., Roux, D., Matthews, J. H., Biggs, H., … & Viers, J. (2015). Managing freshwater, river, wetland and estuarine protected areas. Protected area governance and management, 569-608.
  9. Juffe‐Bignoli, D., Harrison, I., Butchart, S. H., Flitcroft, R., Hermoso, V., Jonas, H., … & Van Soesbergen, A. (2016). Achieving Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 to improve the performance of protected areas and conserve freshwater biodiversity. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 26, 133-151.
  10. Hermoso, V., Abell, R., Linke, S., & Boon, P. (2016). The role of protected areas for freshwater biodiversity conservation: challenges and opportunities in a rapidly changing world. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 26, 3-11.
  11. Pittock, Jamie for WWF (2005). Challenges of freshwater protected areas. Retrieved from: https://wwf.panda.org/?uNewsID=17772
  12. Government of Canada (2020). Internationally important wetlands: Ramsar Convention. Retrieved from: https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/corporate/international-affairs/partnerships-organizations/important-wetlands-ramsar-convention.html
  13. Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (n.d.). Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. Retrieved from: http://www.ramp-alberta.org/management/framework/treaties/ramsar.aspx
  14. Abell, R., Allan, J. D., & Lehner, B. (2007). Unlocking the potential of protected areas for freshwaters. Biological Conservation, 134(1), 48-63.
  15. CHRS (n.d.). About Us. Retrieved from: https://chrs.ca/en/about-chrs
  16. Government of Nunavut (n.d.). Canadian Heritage Rivers. Retrieved from: https://www.gov.nu.ca/environment/information/canadian-heritage-rivers
  17. International Joint Commission (2020). Role of the IJC. Retrieved from: https://www.ijc.org/en/who/role
  18. Acreman, M., Hughes, K. A., Arthington, A. H., Tickner, D., & Duenas, M. A. (2019). Protected areas and freshwater biodiversity: A novel systematic review distils eight lessons for effective conservation. Conservation Letters.
  19. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (2017). Spotlight on Marine Protected Areas in Canada. Retrieved from: https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans/publications/mpaspotlight-pleinsfeuxzpm/index-eng.html
  20. IJC (2015). Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area Protects World’s Largest Freshwater Lake. Retrieved from: https://www.ijc.org/en/lake-superior-national-marine-conservation-area-protects-worlds-largest-freshwater-lake
  21. Lemelin, R. H., Koster, R., Woznicka, I., Metansinine, K., & Pelletier, H. (2010). Voyages to Kitchi Gami: the Lake Superior national marine conservation area and regional tourism opportunities in Canada’s first national marine conservation area. Tourism in marine environments, 6(2-3), 101-118.
  22. Canadian Freshwater Alliance (2020). NOAA’s Lake Erie algal bloom forecast proves that governments need to do more work to save the lake. Retrieved from: https://www.freshwateralliance.ca/algae_forecast_2020_media_release_2
  23. MNR (2019). State of Ontario’s Protected Areas Report. Retrieved from: https://www.ontario.ca/page/state-ontarios-protected-areas-report
  24. Canada C3. (n.d.). Queen Maud Gulf Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Retrieved from: https://canadac3.ca/en/expedition/the-places/queen-maud-gulf-migratory-bird-sanctuary/

MPA 101: Introduction to Marine Protected Areas

By Hameet Singh and Rachel Goldstein

Hameet Singh and Rachel Goldstein are part of a team of CPCIL Research and Knowledge Gatherers producing content and compiling resources on themes such as inclusion, ecosocial justice, partnerships, conservation, organizational sustainability, climate change and biodiversity, connection to nature, conservation financing, and ecotourism, to support effective and equitable leadership and inclusion in parks and protected areas across Canada.

This technical report has been created in response to Canada’s commitment to the marine conservation targets set out by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UN CBD) to protect 10% of its coastal and marine areas by 2020. Here we will outline Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in a Canadian context, the ecology of MPAs, freshwater protected areas, human-wildlife coexistence, MPA networks, and MPA management tools.

MPA Technical Report by Rachel Goldstein and Hameet Singh.
Click to read the full report.

What is a Marine Protected Area and Why do We Need Them?

MPAs are defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as “any area of intertidal or subtidal terrain, together with its overlying water and associated flora, fauna, historical and cultural features, which has been reserved by law or other effective means to protect part or all of the enclosed environment” (1). The ocean covers over 70% of the Earth and provides essential ecosystem services and yet only 7.56% of the ocean is protected and 2.05% is no-take zones, meaning industries such as commercial fishing, mining, drilling, or other extractive activities are not permitted (2). Recent years have seen an increased push for ocean conservation, partly due to the negative impact of declining ocean health on ecosystem services. It is becoming more evident that human impact not only has a deleterious effect on the terrestrial environment, but also on the marine environment. Though ocean conservation poses different challenges, such as the difficulty of in situ research in a marine context and imposing boundaries on a fluid environment, the decline in ocean health has promoted global movement towards improving ocean conservation. 

In 2010, the UN CBD set out 20 targets, known as the Aichi Targets, in their strategic plan for 2011-2020 (3). The targets are aimed at improving global biodiversity, including improving marine health. Target 11 of the strategic plan states:

“By 2020, at least 17 percent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 percent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.”

Figure 1: Map of MPAs and OECMs across the globe. Credit: INEP-WCMC and IUCN (2)

In the years following, many countries, including Canada, have worked to meet the goal of increasing marine protection by establishing MPAs and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs). For an introduction to MPAs on a global scale, refer to CPCIL’s blog post, “Why MPAs are the World’s Underwater Parks and Aquatic Lifeline.

Canada's Approach to MPAS

MPAs are essential for conserving marine environments and ecosystem services. In 2015, Canada committed to reaching Aichi Target 11 by 2020 and in 2016, the Canadian government developed a five-pronged approach to achieving this goal (4):

  1. Complete established processes for MPAs already underway 
  2. Establish new, large MPAs in offshore areas
  3. Target areas that are under pressure from human activity
  4. Advance other effective area-based conservation measures
  5. Establish MPAs faster and more effectively

By following the above plan and adhering to standards set by the IUCN and the CBD, Canada has achieved its goal. With the longest coastline in the world and a vast expanse of marine ecosystems, protecting 10% is not insignificant. Currently, Canada has 14 established MPAs, which make up 6% of Canada’s coastal and marine environments, with the additional 4% of protected coastal and marine environment being OECMs.

Applying IUCN Standards to Canadian MPAs

In order for a country to meet Aichi Target 11, marine and coastal areas must meet the IUCN Global Conservation Standards to MPAs. According to the IUCN, “the overriding purpose of a system of protected areas is to increase the effectiveness of in situ biodiversity conservation” (5). 

IUCN’s essential characteristics of an MPA (6):

  1. Conservation focused with nature as the priority
  2. Defined goals and objectives which reflect these conservation values
  3. Suitable size, location, and design that deliver the conservation values
  4. Defined and fairly agreed boundary
  5. Management plan or equivalent, which addresses the need for conservation of the MPA’s major values, and achievement of its social and economic goals and objectives
  6. Resources and capacity to effectively implement the MPA

MPAs differ in their level of protection, across and even within an MPA. They range from fully protected, no-take zones to multiple use areas. Areas with the highest protection generally have greater economic, social, and ecological benefits (7). Beyond the IUCN’s essential characteristics for MPAs, they have outlined “Green List Standards”, which are more prescriptive in order to establish a baseline for conservation and protection standards. The Green List Standards focus on good governance, sound planning and design, effective management, and conservation outcomes, all of which contribute to the overall success of an MPA (6). 

Canada has made great strides towards achieving the Green List Standards in the past few years. For example, in 2019, the Canadian government mandated that industrial activities, including offshore oil and gas, are prohibited in MPAs, though they are permitted on a case-by-case basis in OECMs. Additionally, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) has outlined protection standards for MPAs in Canada and has published reports regarding MPA collaboration with First Nations along Canada’s Pacific Coast (8). Although Canada still has far to go to meet the IUCN’s Green List Standard, marine conservation over the past decade has vastly improved within the country and continues in a positive direction.

References

  1. Kelleher, G. (1999). Guidelines for Marine Protected Areas. Retrieved from: https://www.iucn.org/sites/dev/files/import/downloads/mpaguid.pdf
  2. Protected Planet. (2020). Marine Protected Areas. Retrieved from: https://www.protectedplanet.net/en/thematic-areas/marine-protected-areas
  3. Convention on Biological Diversity. (n.d.). Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Retrieved from: https://www.cbd.int/sp/targets/
  4. Schram, C., Ladell, K., Mitchell, J., & Chute, C. (2019). From one to ten: Canada’s approach to achieving marine conservation targets. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 29(S2), 170–180. 
  5. Dudley, N. (2008). Guidelines for applying protected area management categories. In Best Practice Protected Area Guidelines (Vol. 21). https://doi.org/10.1177/001312458001200408
  6. IUCN WCPA. (2018). Applying IUCN’s Global Conservation Standards to Marine Protected Areas (MPA). Retrieved from: https://www.iucn.org/sites/dev/files/content/documents/applying_mpa_global_standards_v120218_nk_v2.pdf
  7. Cabral, R. B., Bradley, D., Mayorga, J., Goodell, W., Friedlander, A. M., Sala, E., Costello, C., & Gaines, S. D. (2020). A global network of marine protected areas for food. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(45), 28134 – 28139. 
  8. Gardner, J. (2009). First Nations and Marine Protected Areas Summary Report: An introduction to First Nations Rights, Concerns and Interests Related to MPAs on Canada’s Pacific Coast. Retrieved from: http://137.122.145.24/bulletinBoard/First%20Nations%20and%20MPAs%20Summary%20Report%20-%20Final%20Oct%202009.pdf

MPA 101: Marine Protected Area Management Tools

By Hameet Singh and Rachel Goldstein

Hameet Singh and Rachel Goldstein are part of a team of CPCIL Research and Knowledge Gatherers producing content and compiling resources on themes such as inclusion, ecosocial justice, partnerships, conservation, organizational sustainability, climate change and biodiversity, connection to nature, conservation financing, and ecotourism, to support effective and equitable leadership and inclusion in parks and protected areas across Canada.

MPA Technical Report by Rachel Goldstein and Hameet Singh.
Click to read the full report.

After an MPA has been established, there is a myriad of tools that practitioners can employ in order to assess its effectiveness and success rate. They can also be used in the planning and development phases in delineating potential areas that are most viable wherein an MPA can be implemented. Incorporating these measures can provide a strong evaluation of existing MPAs, and also help define ecologically significant areas for future MPAs. Some of these include geographic information systems (GIS), marine spatial planning/zoning, remote sensing, satellite and aerial photography, radar imagery, acoustic data collection and mathematical modelling. Selected tools are described below in detail. 

Remote Sensing

Remote sensing is defined as the process of detecting a region’s physical characteristics through the measurement of reflected and emitted radiation from a satellite or aircraft (1). This technology has been employed to track the extent of forest fires, cloud cover for weather analysis, and most recently, mapping the topography of the ocean and its associated areas. It is this latter application that has been useful in the planning and monitoring of MPAs and the species and habitats that they safeguard. It has been advocated as a key tool in supporting the designation, mapping and monitoring protected areas and has proven to provide standardized and credible information on the long-term trends of ecosystem functionality on worldwide scales (2). For instance, remote sensing was instrumental in assessing the health of mangrove ecosystems in Kenya’s Kiunga MPA (3). In this case, the digitized information proved to be useful for creating accurate maps of mangrove vegetation cover, assessing species distribution and changes over time, and investigating linkages with other ecosystems. Remote sensing used in this study found that while certain mangrove species are less abundant than others and may require additional conservation efforts, the overall ecosystem had a high rate of productivity and regeneration.

Figure 1: Remote sensing imagery which can be using for marine spatial planning applications. Credit: Suryan et al

It is also theorized that as MPAs are increasingly situated in the open ocean, remote sensing will be instrumental in designating and monitoring large and expansive areas. Another study examined the existence of chlorophyll clusters (FCPI) from northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, to Baja California, Mexico as an indication of phytoplankton production and seabird abundance, and to determine biological hotspots as potential sites for MPA implementation (4) (Figure 1). It has been found that monitoring primary production has a high probability to inform marine species distribution and in turn, improve MPA establishment (2). Overall, remote sensing has the potential to greatly decrease marine biodiversity losses and should be used as a tool to plan, implement and monitor MPAs. 

Geographic Information Systems

GIS is a software framework used to capture, collect, store and display spatial data related to the Earth’s surface (5). It incorporates various types of geographic data and visualizes it into maps and 3D-imaging, providing better insights and revealing patters and relationships (6). It has been used for urban planning, environmental impact analysis, navigation, natural disaster management, and most recently, in response to a global pandemic (7). In the realm of MPAs, GIS has been employed to evaluate their efficacy and ascertain if they indeed restore ecological and health.

Figure 2: Indigenous identification of features in the seascape, represented as layers in GIS. Credit: Aswani and Lauer

Applying GIS technology, a study in Hawaii found that fish biomass was 2.6 times greater in its MPA compared to unprotected areas and that apex predator species were observed to be more plentiful and larger in the MPAs, illustrating their effectiveness in conserving fish populations (8). Other research shows that GIS can be used to incorporate Indigenous knowledge, artisanal fishing and biophysical data to support MPA site selection and design (10) (Figure 2). This study showed that the combination of geospatial tools, fieldwork, and social and natural science methods can aid in the planning phases of an MPA. Use of GIS technology to map marine resources for marine conservation planning purposes is steadily growing as a useful resource.

Acoustic Data Collection

Acoustical oceanography is described as obtaining information concerning the ocean (physical, biological, geological, chemical, etc.) using acoustic measurements (10). In the simplest terms, certain instruments (hydrophones, etc.) are used to produce sound waves and transmit them into the water. The returning sound waves are then measured for parameters and used to obtain data (11). In other instances, a sample population of a species may be tagged with acoustic transmitters to better understand their behaviours, range and ecological niche (12) (Figure 3). In the context of MPAs, acoustic data collection has proven to be useful to understand the habitat uses of keystone species in order to better delineate the boundaries of an MPA. In a 2016 study, a larger and more encompassing MPA was adopted by the Seychelles government after researchers used acoustic analysis to determine the ocean space use of shark and sea turtle species.

Figure 3: Graphic depicting how marine acoustic tagging works Credit: GLATOS

A sample population of selected species was tagged with acoustic transmitters, which was used for marine habitat mapping and disclosed that certain species had a more extensive distribution and range than previously thought. Therefore, redefining MPA peripheries to better align with habitat use significantly increased the efficacy of the MPA. Acoustic technology has also been used to monitor the marine environment in Canada. In a study conducted at the SGaan Kinghlas-Bowie Seamount MPA near the coast of British Columbia, acoustic data revealed that vessel traffic in the region impacting ambient sound levels could have future implications for MPA management (13).

References

  1. USGS (n.d.). What is remote sensing and what is it used for? Retrieved from: https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/what-remote-sensing-and-what-it-used?qt-news_science_products=0#qt-news_science_products
  2. Kachelriess, D., Wegmann, M., Gollock, M., & Pettorelli, N. (2014). The application of remote sensing for marine protected area management. Ecological Indicators, 36, 169-177.
  3. Kairo, J. G., Kivyatu, B., & Koedam, N. (2002). Application of remote sensing and GIS in the management of mangrove forests within and adjacent to Kiunga Marine Protected Area, Lamu, Kenya. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 4(2), 153-166.
  4. Oregon State University (2021). Remote sensing & biological hotspots. Retrieved from: https://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/research-labs/seabird-oceanography-lab/research/foraging-ecology-oceanography/use-remote-sensing-data-identify-biological-hotspots
  5. National Geographic (2017). GIS (Geographic Information System). Retrieved from: https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/geographic-information-system-gis/
  6. ESRI (n.d.). What is GIS?. Retrieved from: https://www.esri.com/en-us/what-is-gis/overview
  7. Pratt, Monica for ESRI (2020). GIS Systems Lead Response to COVID-19. Retrieved from: https://www.esri.com/about/newsroom/arcuser/gis-systems-lead-response-to-covid-19/
  8. Friedlander, A. M., Brown, E. K., & Monaco, M. E. (2007). Coupling ecology and GIS to evaluate efficacy of marine protected areas in Hawaii. Ecological Applications, 17(3), 715-730.
  9. Aswani, S., & Lauer, M. (2006). Incorporating fishermen’s local knowledge and behavior into geographical information systems (GIS) for designing marine protected areas in Oceania. Human Organization, 81-102.
  10. Acoustical Society of America (n.d.). Acoustical Oceanography. Retrieved from: https://asastudents.org/acoustical-oceanography/
  11. NOAA (2015). Understanding Ocean Acoustics. Retrieve from: https://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/sound01/background/acoustics/acoustics.html
  12. GLATOS (n.d.). Acoustic Telemetry. Retrieved from: https://glatos.glos.us/Acoustic
  13. Allen, A. S., Yurk, H., Vagle, S., Pilkington, J., & Canessa, R. (2018). The underwater acoustic environment at SGaan Kinghlas-Bowie Seamount Marine Protected Area: Characterizing vessel traffic and associated noise using satellite AIS and acoustic datasets. Marine pollution bulletin, 128, 82-88.
  14. Suryan, R. M., Santora, J. A., & Sydeman, W. J. (2012). New approach for using remotely sensed chlorophyll a to identify seabird hotspots. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 451, 213-225.
  15.  

To Protect and Conserve – the Mission of Marine Protected Areas

The mangrove forests of the Ria Lagartos Biosphere Reserve have been cited by community members as important to wellbeing due to the protection from hurricane impacts. Photo by Hameet Singh.

Hameet Singh is part of a team of CPCIL Research and Knowledge Gatherers producing content and compiling resources on themes such as inclusion, ecosocial justice, partnerships, conservation, organizational sustainability, climate change and biodiversity, connection to nature, conservation financing, and ecotourism, to support effective and equitable leadership and inclusion in parks and protected areas across Canada. These positions are funded by Canada’s Green Jobs Program and supported by Project Learning Tree.

Marine protected areas have long been heralded as an important area-based management tool to combat ecological change, conserve natural resources, biological diversity, and historical and cultural facets of the landscape. The purpose of an MPA is to provide protection for “any defined area within or adjacent to the marine environment, together with its overlying waters and associated flora, fauna and historical and cultural features.”[1] It strives to diminish the risk of degradation to marine and coastal ecosystems by reducing pressure on fisheries and other related marine activities. This is achieved by limiting interference from human activities to varying degrees, dependent on the IUCN categories.[2] MPAs may also sometimes be set up to safeguard unique ecosystems or species habitats such as sponge glass corals or mangrove forests.

The benefits of MPAs are vast and diverse. They are known to “protect delicate ecosystems so that they remain productive and healthy, maintain areas of biodiversity and genetic variation within the flora and fauna populations, ensure that endangered, threatened, or rare species are protected…”.[3] MPAs are used as a “well-established conservation strategy, employed around the world to protect important marine species and ecosystems and support the recovery of declining populations”.[4] Lesser known, but equally important benefits of MPA establishment are its economic and social facets. MPAs implemented with allowable sustainable use of human activity can help to bolster local economies through fisheries spillover effects and ecotourism ventures. In communities where MPAs have been established for a longer period, they have become embedded in the local culture and community identity.

Some of the avifauna present in the Ria Lagartos Biosphere Reserve - Great blue heron, roseate spoonbill and American white ibis. Photo by Hameet Singh.
Some of the avifauna present in the Ria Lagartos Biosphere Reserve - Great blue heron, roseate spoonbill and American white ibis. Photo by Hameet Singh.

Fostering Biodiversity

In the Ria Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, the MPA where I was based in while doing my graduate research, the local community members that I interviewed repeatedly advocated the significant value that the reserve has brought to their towns. The communities are situated in a lagoon ecosystem, which is host to mangrove forests, in addition to other vegetative biomes. In fact, mangroves surround the coasts of the entire peninsula with a total area of 423,751 ha.[5] Interviewees frequently described the MPA as conserving the mangroves, which in turn safeguards the inland communities from hurricane and storm surges. This is particularly significant for the area, as it is considered a high-risk hurricane zone and situated in the trajectory of hurricanes originating from the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.[6] This shows that the existence of the MPA has added to the physical resilience of the communities.

The biosphere and mangroves also provide ecological protection to its myriad of species residing in its core and buffer zones, including hawksbill and green sea turtles, Morelett’s crocodile and American crocodile, jaguar, bare-throated tiger heron, Caribbean spiny lobster, and Atlantic horseshoe crab. Avifauna in particular are of special concern in the ecosystem. The reserve is known as an “Important Bird Area” an internationally recognized standard for the conservation of bird populations.[7] Its strategic location and varied vegetative environments make it a key migratory stop for wintering waterfowl.[8]

Protection of species and habitat has also stabilized some of the previously declining fisheries in the region, which is significant as over 60% of the communities’ population relies on small-scale fishing as its primary source of income.[9] Literature repeatedly indicates that well-managed MPAs build the resilience of coastal communities through the spillover of fish, leading to benefits via increased catch.[10] Fishing is a way of life and comprises self-identity for many living in the communities of the reserve. Increases in the health of local fisheries is embedded in and contributes to the community’s culture and identity.

Supporting Local Communities​

In addition, the implementation of the MPA has brought significant revenue generation through investments in ecotourism. In Ria Lagartos, locals have leveraged the presence of the reserve by promoting ecotourism ventures. It has been used increasingly as a mechanism for alternative income generation and diversification of livelihoods. This has allowed locals to benefit and improve their wellbeing and socio-economic conditions through new employment opportunities and increased revenue. Fishers are doubling as tour guides, escorting sightseers to the mangrove forests, beaches, sinkholes and birdwatching areas.[11] There is a tourist cooperative established in all the communities of Ría Lagartos by cooperative fishers and other community members, including the women’s cooperative. The main attraction of the reserve are the species that inhabit it, particularly the American flamingo and Morelet’s crocodile. Animals such as these attract a multitude of tourists annually, who come to see the species in their natural habitat via birdwatching tours or night excursions.

The American flamingo in the Ria Lagartos Biosphere Reserve. Photo by Hameet Singh.
The American flamingo in the Ria Lagartos Biosphere Reserve. Photo by Hameet Singh.

Finally, majority of the interviewees attributed the reserve as enhancing their community’s wellbeing, stating that its presence added to local pride and awareness of the marine environment. This in turn created a greater sense and encouragement to care and protect the local environment and a psychological feeling of comfort.

The establishment of an MPA can have a multitude of benefits for the local areas in which it exists, as well the overall global marine ecosystem as a whole. They are known as “biological successes” and safeguard marine species all throughout the food web, and also provide a slew of both economic and social benefits. When designed effectively, MPAs have the potential to conserve the marine environment and protect biodiversity, while simultaneously contributing positively to social and economic development.

What other benefits and success stories are supported by MPAs? Let us know in the comments below!

[1] CBD. (2003, March 3). MARINE AND COASTAL BIODIVERSITY: REVIEW, FURTHER ELABORATION AND REFINEMENT OF THE PROGRAMME OF WORK. Retrieved from CBD website: https://www.cbd.int/doc/meetings/sbstta/sbstta-08/information/sbstta-08-inf-12-en.pdf

[2] IUCN (2020). Protected Area Categories. Retrieved from IUCN: https://www.iucn.org/theme/protected-areas/about/protected-area-categories

[3] Ginsburg, D. (2013). Effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas in Mexico – the Actam Chuleb Example. Retrieved from Scientific American Blog Network website: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/expeditions/investigating-the-effectiveness-of-marine-protected-areas-in-mexico-using-actam-chuleb-as-a-primary-example

[4] Jessen, S., Morgan, L. E., Bezaury-Creel, J. E., Barron, A., Govender, R., Pike, E. P., … Moffitt, R. A. (2017). Measuring MPAs in Continental North America: How Well Protected Are the Ocean Estates of Canada, Mexico, and the USA? Frontiers in Marine Science, 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2017.00279

[5] Adame, M. F., Zaldívar‐Jimenez, A., Teutli, C., Caamal, J. P., Andueza, M. T., López‐Adame, H., … Herrera‐Silveira, J. A. (2013). Drivers of Mangrove Litterfall within a Karstic Region Affected by Frequent Hurricanes. Biotropica, 45(2), 147–154. https://doi.org/10.1111/btp.12000

[6] Audefroy, J. F., & Sánchez, B. N. C. (2017). Integrating local knowledge for climate change adaptation in Yucatán, Mexico. International Journal of Sustainable Built Environment, 6(1), 228–237. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijsbe.2017.03.007

[7] BirdLife International. (2019). BirdLife Data Zone. Retrieved from http://datazone.birdlife.org/country/mexico

[8] SEMARNAT. (2016). Humedales de Ría Lagartos de gran importancia internacional. Retrieved from gob.mx website: http://www.gob.mx/semarnat/articulos/humedales-de-ria-lagartos-de-gran-importancia-internacional

Unlock the Potential of MPAs – Understanding Lessons Learned

Some of the avifauna present in the Ria Lagartos Biosphere Reserve - Great blue heron, roseate spoonbill and American white ibis. Photo by Hameet Singh.

Hameet Singh is part of a team of CPCIL Research and Knowledge Gatherers producing content and compiling resources on themes such as inclusion, ecosocial justice, partnerships, conservation, organizational sustainability, climate change and biodiversity, connection to nature, conservation financing, and ecotourism, to support effective and equitable leadership and inclusion in parks and protected areas across Canada. These positions are funded by Canada’s Green Jobs Program and supported by Project Learning Tree.

The ecological and economic wellbeing brought forth by marine protected areas (MPAs) have been extensively studied and supported by a multitude of case studies around the globe.[1] MPAs have been known to boost fisheries’ populations, enhance tourism and job opportunities,[2] and provide refuge for an array of marine life.[3]

However, the social and cultural implications of MPAs are less well-known or not given the same amount of consideration during establishment compared to their biophysical counterparts. There have been cases where the implementation of an MPA that does not include local participation or consultation in management impedes in livelihoods and cultural activities.[4] This lack of community engagement has been frequently cited as the reason behind MPA incompliance, undermining the very reasons for its establishment and also negating ecological benefits.[5] Social components are therefore one of the key determinants of MPA success and crucial to its longevity.

Strengthening Community-Government Ties

Engagement and consultation of local stakeholders in protected area planning, implementation and monitoring is an important precursor to its long-term success. Social acceptability, defined as “a measure of support towards a set of regulations, management tools or towards an organisation by an individual or a group of individuals based on geographic, social, economic or cultural criteria”[6], can greatly reinforce compliance and the effectiveness of a protected area as a mechanism for conservation.

During my work in the Ria Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, many of the interviewees pointed to a gradual yet steady acceptance of the reserve’s regulations. When the reserve was first established, it came under scrutiny from local peoples for its lack of consultation in the design process.[7]

Information signboard for the Ria Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, depicting some of the regulations at the bottom Photo by Hameet Singh.
Information signboard for the Ria Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, depicting some of the regulations at the bottom Photo by Hameet Singh.

 Many of the people I spoke stated that at first, there was minimal communication with community members about the reserve’s regulations, with some having no idea that a protected area had been established within the vicinity of their community. As community-government relations bolstered, communication improved and opportunities for involvement became more abundant. Local peoples became more receptive to stewardship efforts in their communities, with many participating through non-profit organizations like PRONATURA[8] or Ninos y Crias (Kids and Chicks).[9] One respondent spoke to this changing and evolving relationship. saying “it was difficult at the beginning for people and the community to accept the reserve, but once people started to see the benefits of conservation, it was more accepted.” Survey results indicated that members are now generally aware of the reserve’s regulations and agree that it is being managed in a largely effective manner. 

However, it was also stated that some improvements are still warranted, as community members had grievances concerning the privatization of certain areas of the reserve while impeding community growth. They believed that “more participation from the community” would improve the reserve, and that a more thorough and rigorous consultation process would help to alleviate some of these concerns, further strengthening the bonds between the community and government.

Co-Managed Governance – The Path Forward

Co-management is an approach to natural resource management that facilitates, “the sharing of power and responsibility among local resource user communities and resource management agencies.”[10] It strives to merge state-based and local decision-making, ideally combining the advantages and disadvantages of each to create a more fortified governance framework.[11] This governance structure empowers communities to manage local resources by incorporating customary practices, institutions, and a variety of knowledge systems.[12] It can also help to rebuild trust and rapport between communities and government authorities and enhance conservation. Applied in a marine context, co-management is characterized by local peoples who take the lead on conservation and the stewardship of resources. When done correctly, “alternative schemes different to the traditional top-down approach, such as co-management of natural resources in MPAs, have been demonstrated to be a more effective way of dealing with the challenge of conserving marine biodiversity.”[13] MPAs established with strong local involvement have been found to be one of the most effective in meeting their ecological objectives.

When asked how to facilitate a more co-managed approach, community members of Ria Lagartos had suggestions such as implementing “more seminars or talks on how to get involved and protect and preserve our resources.” Increased local participation in the decision-making process of MPAs can contribute to a shift in otherwise negative points of view.[14] Incorporating local knowledge can help to bridge the gaps that are present under an exclusively state-led approach, as local peoples often have a more intimate relationship with their surrounding natural environment. This was evident in Ria Lagartos, with one interviewee stating that “I think the reserve would be better protected if the community members looked after it, as we live next to the reserve. We know how to take care of the reserve because we grew up with it.” Survey results also pointed to a largely positive belief regarding the integration of local inputs to improve reserve management. These opinions were supported with the park rangers that I spoke to, with one park rager saying, “No matter how small or big our park rangers team is, we will always be dependent on the participation of the community. People of the community currently help me because they have understood that the protection of natural resources is for their own benefit. Now when they see something odd, they notify me. Community members now pass on to others the information we (park rangers) gave them, and thankfully, when they see any kind of rule-breaking or irregularity towards flamingos, sea turtles, or mangroves, they immediately report it to us.”

Application to a Canadian Context

There are examples of co-managed MPAs in Canada as well. In conjunction with the Government of Canada and the Council of the Haida Nation, the Sgaan Kinglas/Bowie Seamount MPA and Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve in the Pacific Ocean have been established under a co-managed framework.[15] In the case of the former, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and management plan between the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada, represented by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has been implemented. They delineate the adaptive co-managed approach of the MPA and the shared responsibilities of the parties involved to conserve and protect the ecological integrity of the region.[16] Similarly, the Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve is the first of its kind, implementing the first land-sea-people management plan in Canada, providing “strategic direction on managing the natural and cultural resources of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site from mountain top to sea floor, for the next ten years.” The plan is grounded in Haida Law and provides zoning for both the land and sea.[18]

Furthermore, the Scott Islands marine National Wildlife Area, located on the northwestern tip of Vancouver Island, supports the highest concentration of breeding seabirds on Canada’s Pacific coast and is collaboratively managed with the Government of Canada, Province of British Columbia, the Tlatlasikwala First Nation and the Quatsino First Nation.[19] 

Finally, Anguniaqvia Niqiqyuam MPA of Canada’s Arctic Ocean is another collaborative effort between DFO, and the Inuvialuit First Nation, along with the Government of the Northwest Territories, industry and environmental non-government organizations.[20] The MPA’s management plan outlines guidance on co-management, monitoring and research related facets.

Co-managed governance through the involvement of local communities can greatly enhance the management effectiveness of marine natural resources. MPAs established through a co-managed approach provide a robust and sustainable defense against the deterioration of the marine environment.

[1] Strain et al. (2019). A global assessment of the direct and indirect benefits of marine protected areas for coral reef conservation. In Diversity and Distributions. (pp. 9-20). https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ddi.12838

[2] Dixon. (1993). Economic benefits of marine protected areas. In Oceanus. https://go.gale.com/ps/anonymous?id=GALE%7CA14795717&sid=googleScholar&v=2.1&it=r&linkaccess=abs&issn=00298182&p=AONE&sw=w

[3] Rogers‐Bennett, L., & Pearse, J. S. (2001). Indirect benefits of marine protected areas for juvenile abalone. In Conservation Biology. (p. 642-647). https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1523-1739.2001.015003642.x         

[4] Bezaury-Creel, J. E. (2005). Protected areas and coastal and ocean management in México. In Ocean & Coastal Management, 48(11), (p. 1016–1046.)

[5] Gall, S. C., & Rodwell, L. D. (2016). Evaluating the social acceptability of Marine Protected Areas. Marine Policy, 65, 30–38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2015.12.004

[6] Thomassin, A., White, C. S., Stead, S. S., & David, G. (2010). Social acceptability of a marine protected area: The case of Reunion Island. Ocean & Coastal Management, 53(4), 169–179. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2010.01.008

[7] Fraga, J. (2006). Local perspectives in conservation politics: The case of the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, Yucatán, México. Landscape and Urban Planning, 74(3), 285–295. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2004.09.008

[8] PRONATURA Mexico AC (2020). About Us. Retrieved from: http://www.pronatura.org.mx/quienes-somos.php *translated from Spanish

[9] Ninos & Crias (2012). About Us. Retrieved from: http://www.ninosycrias.org/quienes-somos. *translated from Spanish

[10] Kofinas, G. P. (2009). Adaptive Co-management in Social-Ecological Governance. In C. Folke, G. P. Kofinas, & F. S. Chapin (Eds.), Principles of Ecosystem Stewardship: Resilience-Based Natural Resource Management in a Changing World (pp. 77–101). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-73033-2_4

[11] Carlsson, L., & Berkes, F. (2005). Co-management: Concepts and methodological implications. Journal of Environmental Management, 75(1), 65–76. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2004.11.008

[12] Fabricius, C., & Collins, S. (2007). Community-based natural resource management: Governing the commons. Water Policy, 9(S2), 83–97. https://doi.org/10.2166/wp.2007.132

[13] López-Angarita, J., Moreno-Sánchez, R., Maldonado, J. H., & Sánchez, J. A. (2014). Evaluating Linked Social–Ecological Systems in Marine Protected Areas. Conservation Letters, 7(3), 241–252. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12063

[14] Pita, C., Pierce, G. J., Theodossiou, I., & Macpherson, K. (2011). An overview of commercial fishers’ attitudes towards marine protected areas. Hydrobiologia, 670(1), 289. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-011-0665-9

[15] Coastal First Nations (2020). What is a Marine Protected Area? Retrieved from: https://coastalfirstnations.ca/our-sea/what-is-a-marine-protected-area/

[16] DFO (2020). SGaan Kinghlas-Bowie Seamount Marine Protected Area. Retrieved from: https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans/mpa-zpm/bowie-eng.html

[17] Parks Canada (2020). Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site. Retrieved from: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/gwaiihaanas/info/consultations

[18] Council of the Haida Nation Marine Planning Program (n.d.) Retrieved from: https://haidamarineplanning.com/initiatives/gwaii-haanas-land-sea-people-plan/

[19] Government of Canada (2018). Scott Islands marine National Wildlife Area. Retrieved from: https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/national-wildlife-areas/locations/scott-islands-marine.html#:~:text=The%20Scott%20Islands%20marine%20National,seabirds%20on%20the%20Pacific%20coast.

[20] DFO (2019). Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam Marine Protected Area (MPA). Retrieved from: https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans/mpa-zpm/anguniaqvia-niqiqyuam/index-eng.html