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Marine Ecosystem-based Management Knowledge Gaps


Ecosystem-based Management (EBM) represents an integrated approach to environmental decision-making. Enabled in Canada under the Ocean’s Act, marine EBM reflects the realization that single-objective management decisions can lead to unintended and often detrimental consequences for other marine ecosystem components.

EBM requires a broad understanding of all of the components and functions of the ecosystem. While we cannot understand everything about the ecosystem, we can prioritize our monitoring, analysis and research so that in the short term we focus on activities that will inform our understanding of the most critical and influential components and functions of the ecosystem and help us to understand how these are affected by human actions.

The objective of this report is to help inform the EBM community of practice about information and data gaps existing in the EBM framework in BC marine waters and plan to fill the gaps. Section 4 of this report, documents the state of marine EBM readiness. Some components of information that would support EBM in BC marine waters are incomplete or missing. Research indicates that gaps exist in the policy framework, management instruments, decision tools and methods and there is no formal performance evaluation framework.

This document provides background material for input to the PacMARA Marine EBM Gaps Workshops. During the workshops members of the marine EBM community of practice will work together to prioritize the gaps and issues that must be resolved to help move EBM forward in the BC marine environment. This document supports that objective employing a four step approach:
  1. Identify knowledge gaps that need to be addressed to proceed with EBM in BC marine waters.
  2. Catalogue what data/information are currently available to fill these needs for BC marine waters.
  3. Determine what data/information gaps exist for implementation of EBM.
  4. Research possible methods for addressing the knowledge gaps by prioritizing the filling of needed data/information.

Secondary issues for this project include examining ways to:
  1. Make the knowledge and related data/information that does exist more usable for scientists, managers and policy developers working on EBM in BC marine waters.
  2. Improve access to the existing knowledge and related data/information that is needed for EBM in BC marine waters.

Click here to view the Marine Ecosystem-based Management Knowledge Gaps Study

Click here to go to the Marine Ecosystem-based Management Gaps Dialogue page


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