About PacMARA

Who Is PacMARA?

PacMARA (the Pacific Marine Analysis and Research Association) acts as a catalyst for collaborative research and analysis, informing marine policy based on impartial evidence from the marine community. PacMARA hosts international workshops on policy, management practice and marine science and the use of planning tools based on case studies. PacMARA facilitates interaction and collaboration between neighbouring and overlapping jurisdictions, and assists in the planning and implementation of an Ocean Information Management System, within the auspices of the Canada BC Ocean Coordination Committee (OCC) working group. At PacMARA, we aim to create relationships within the marine planning community.

PacMARA also provides training and support in the use of Marine spatial planning tools and best practices for ecosystem-based management (EBM) to address challenges in coastal environment management. PacMARA’s goal is to develop, facilitate and encourage multi-disciplinary marine science grounded in ecosystem-based decision-making. We work for British Columbia’s marine community of practice addressing common issues and leveraging shared opportunities.

PacMARA represents the marine community though its dynamic and inclusive Board of Directors, with membership from the Province of British Columbia’s Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, the University of British Columbia, and non-governmental environmental groups, such as WWF-Canada and the Marine Conservation Biology Institute. PacMARA has over 150 members from Government, First Nations, academia, and environmental non-governmental organizations.

Our “home waters” are on the Pacific coast of British Columbia, Canada. PacMARA is focused on progress. In addition to our core business, in last year we increased our professional capacity, completed a long-term business strategy, and were granted charitable status. As a registered charity in Canada, PacMARA exists because of charitable donations by people just like you. Tax receipts are provided with all donations:  Donate

What has PacMARA accomplished?

PacMARA has an established formal relationship with the Government of BC, though signing a memorandum of understanding with the Integrated Land Management Bureau of BC; however, PacMARA is a fully independent and impartial enabler for marine planning and decision-making. We believe that access to data, good science, and clear results are at the heart of sustainable ocean management.

In 2005, PacMARA hosted an international workshop, addressing the challenges to successful use of marine spatial planning tools. We published the “Marxan Good Practices Handbook”, a guide for the most commonly used marine spatial planning software. Through our in-depth knowledge and with our stakeholder input we are developing an inventory of knowledge gaps and actions required to develop ecosystem-based management (EBM) plans for BC’s coastal regions.

Working with DFO staff, PacMARA designed and delivered a workshop generating a CSAS report on the establishment of a science monitoring program for the Bowie Seamount Marine Protected Area. This workshop was the first time that PacMARA used the innovative Challenge Dialogue (hyperlink to definition) for creating effective communication and structuring the response from the workshop.

We worked with the British Columbia Marine Conservation Analysis (BCMCA) to fund a Marxan best practices workshop, a case study, and training programs. PacMARA and a diverse stakeholder group also facilitated development and field-testing of the Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVest) tool for application in area-based planning.

PacMARA acts as a catalyst to finding solutions in the area of ocean-related decisions, such as regulation, policy, programs, and marine planning, based on comprehensive technical information and multi-stakeholder input. We support these decisions with a transparent process to ensure the inclusion of the interests of all people affected, and consider all relevant issues, avoiding single issue or single community decisions. PacMARA aids this process, known as “ecosystem-based management” (EBM), by providing the best methods, best decision processes, and most appropriate software systems.

How did PacMARA start?

In 2003-2004, PacMARA arose from a series of workshops that brought together diverse stakeholders interested in the Northwest marine region of coastal British Columbia, officially known as PNCIMA. These regulators, practitioners, and advocates for the sea, recognized a need for cooperative science-based knowledge in order to achieve an EBM strategy in BC. Responding to this need, PacMARA was formed and began operating in 2003.

In 2005, PacMARA was formally incorporated as a British Columbia not-for-profit society. In 2006, PacMARA received a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, since we received this grant we have been able to expand our capacity and provide more comprehensive services to the BC Marine EBM Community of Practice. This grant has allowed PacMARA to become independent from WWF-Canada as its host agency.

PacMARA relies on your donations to remain impartial, and continue our work outside of partisan interests. As a registered charity in Canada, a tax receipt is provided with all donations: please consider donating today.