Recommended guidelines on applying Canada-BC MPA Network Principles in…

PacMARA produced a number of reports on Canada-BC MPA Design Principles commissioned by MPATT (Marine Protected Areas Technical Team) in British Columbia. MPATT is a federal-provincial-First National technical working group responsible for coordinating marine protected area network planning and implementation in Canada’s Pacific waters.

In 2015, PacMARA completed a report to provide guidance on applying Canada-BC MPA Network Design Principles for the Northern Shelf Bioregion (NSB), with a particular focus on those of ecological quantitative scientific nature (A copy of the report can be downloaded here)

In early 2016, PacMARA completed a second report distilling good practices from the extensive literature on incorporating socio-economics into marine protected area (MPA) planning (to download a copy of the report click here).

Later in 2016, PacMARA produced a third and final report with the purpose of developing short, specific and pragmatic guidelines for the implementation of a selected number of principles (to download a copy of the report click here).

Comments and Recommendations for Socio-Economic Data Inclusion in MaPP’s…

MaPP requested expert advice and feedback from PacMARA on draft methodologies and criteria to develop socio-economic “cost” layer(s) to identify possible management options (including high priority conservation areas), using the spatial planning decision-support tool Marxan. The ecological features in this analysis have been taken from the BC Marine Conservation Analysis (

The comments and recommendations reported here are based on information provided in MaPP’s cost layer criteria draft, dated 16 May 2013, “Developing a cost layer to identify high priority conservation areas”. This document is meant solely as an overview of advice, and builds upon our presentation and discussion during the telephone conference of 1 May 2013.

Integration of natural and social science methods in Alaska

In January 2014, Heather Coleman and Ed Gregr of PacMARA were contracted by the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) to facilitate a workshop in conjunction with the Alaska Marine Science Symposium.

The workshop had several overlapping goals: to 1) continue the two-way conversation between the NPRB and the social science community that was launched at the 2012 AMSS social science workshop, 2) provide an opportunity for the social science community to respond to approaches, challenges and opportunities raised in the NPRB-commissioned report, 3) discuss best practices/approaches for social science research that can help elevate quality and advance the science, and 4) discuss promising research directions, addressing issues raised in the report or other priority social science topics falling within the NPRB mission. The workshop was structured with a prospective outlook assessing the appropriate role for social science at NPRB.

The main product of the workshop was a report including recommendations for how NPRB should proceed in the social science realm. PacMARA also prepared an accompanying presentation that was shared at the spring 2014 board meeting.

Download the report and presentation here, or read more about NPRB’s natural and social science integration efforts here!

PacMARA Convenes Dialogue on Marine Ecosystem-based Management

On 9-10 March 2010, PacMARA held a Marine Ecosystem-based Management (EBM) Workshop for Canada’s Pacific coast and ocean in Sidney, BC.  Participants from academia, federal government, First Nations, industry, provincial government, and NGOs came together to contribute to the ongoing dialogue known as the Marine EBM Gaps Challenge Dialogue.

The workshop was successful in producing a set of guiding draft Marine EBM Principles relevant to British Columbia, a Logic Model that summarizes rationale, drivers and desired outcomes, and suggested innovative approaches to joint planning, shared governance and enhanced collaboration.

The Working Group was composed of:
Jon Chamberlain, BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands; Kai Chan, University of British Columbia; Heather Coleman, PacMARA; Steve Diggon, Coastal First Nations; Dan Edwards, Area A Crab Association; Kim Houston, Fisheries and Oceans Canada; Michelle Molnar and Bill Wareham, David Suzuki Foundation.

Documents available from the Marine EBM Gaps Workshop:

View the Workshop Summary.

View the DRAFT Marine EBM Logic Model

Marxan Good Practices Workshop and Report

PacMARA and the BCMCA (BC Marine Conservation Analysis) jointly hosted a workshop on 26-27 May 2009 at the University of British Columbia to assemble the best available information regarding Marxan analyses. The intent of the workshop was to draw on the knowledge and experience of Marxan experts representing a broad spectrum of application users and researchers.

The workshop was attended by 29 invited experts and observers from Australia, Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Washington DC, Victoria and Vancouver. The attendees included government staff, university researchers, graduate students, NGO staff, Marxan consultants, professional economists and climate change scientists. Attendees participated in one of three workshop sub-groups (robust analysis, human use, climate change) and periodically reported back on their progress during plenary sessions.

Objectives of the workshop were to:
1. Assess and report on the applicability of the Marxan Good Practices Handbook (MGPH) for the BCMCA project;
2. Encourage the use of good Marxan practices in BC in order to support ecosystem-based management and an integrated management approach;
3. Discuss and develop guidance on sections of the MGPH that currently do not provide sufficient or clear guidance;
4. Obtain expert guidance on proper and robust use of Marxan, specifically for the BCMCA project;
5. Obtain guidance on the robust development of cost layers (e.g., human uses) and how to best use Marxan’s cost function to achieve BCMCA’s scenario objectives.

View the Marxan Workshop Proceedings Report here.

Bowie Seamount Science Monitoring Workshop

Bowie Seamount is located 180 kilometres west of Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) in the northeast Pacific, off the coast of British Columbia. Also known by the Haida as Sgaan Kinghlas, which means “Supernatural Being Looking Outward,” Bowie Seamount is the shallowest known in Canada’s Pacific waters. It rises from a depth of approximately 3,000 metres to within 24 metres of the sea surface. A marine protected area in the vicinity of Bowie Seamount will protect a complex of three offshore seamounts – Bowie, Hodgkins and Davidson seamounts.

Download the scoping study for the development of scientific advice on Bowie Seamount here:Guénette, S. and Alder, J. 2008. Scoping study for the development of scientific advice on Bowie Seamount. Pacific Marine Analysis and Research Association.

Working closely with DFO staff, PacMARA designed and delivered a workshop and generated 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 for creating effective communication and structuring the response from the workshop.

PacMARA was assisted in this undertaking by Terje Vold (Innovation Expedition), Dave Nicolson (Black Coffee Consulting) and Caroline Dawe (WWF-Canada). Rosaline Canessa (CORAL – University of Victoria) spent considerable time editing the final report.

Marine Ecosystem Based Management Knowledge Gaps Study

The Data Gaps Inventory project identified major gaps in marine data in BC, and was based on an initial scoping study completed in 2004. The goal of this project has been to identify what data currently exist in BC and where they can be found (emphasizing geo-referenced datasets), as well as where the knowledge gaps lie.

The Inventory also identifies older datasets that are not in an accessible electronic format, since they could be valuable sources of data in the future if funding becomes available to convert them into electronic format. Generally, the digitization of data is much less expensive than new surveys, and can add historical perspective. This analysis will help direct future marine research and digitization priorities in BC.

Jacqueline Booth Consulting has completed a study and series of focus groups to determine the general state of readiness for marine EBM in BC. 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. 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.

Report: Marine Ecosystem Based Management Knowledge Gaps Study

Appendices: EBM Gaps Appendix A, EBM Gaps Appendix B

Database: EBM Knowledge Gaps Database
Instructions: This database contains the identified data gaps from the PNCIMA EAOR. The gaps can be sorted by topic (biodiversity, habitat, function, stressor, activity) or subtopic (pollutants, invasive species, noise etc).
The database also includes a list of possible participants for the workshops, which has been gleaned from the recent biodiversity and PNCIMA EBM workshops. There are report forms for displaying all of the information.

Evaluation of Large Ocean Management Area (LOMA) options for…

As Fisheries and Oceans Canada moved towards implementing Integrated Management in the North and Central Coasts of British Columbia, several options were evaluated for the placement of administrative boundaries. This report reviewed three proposed boundaries that span the Central and North Coasts, and made note of one other in the Central Coast (Figure 1). From these inputs two recommendations were developed:

  1. The North – Central LOMA should extend from the Alaskan boarder southward to the vicinity of Seymour Narrows, but should not include Bute or Toba inlets. Brooks Peninsula should represent the southern boundary on the west coast Vancouver Island.  The base of the shelf slope should be the western boundary and the coastal watersheds should represent the eastern boundary.
  1. The deep sea offshore region should be treated as one contiguous LOMA. It would span all of BC’s deep offshore waters from Alaska to Washington State, and extend from the base of the shelf slope seaward to the 200 nautical mile limit of the Economic Exclusions Zone.

During the study it was recognized that any boundary in the marine realm, no matter how well placed, will contain human activities and ecosystem features and processes that are connected to areas outside of these artificial lines. Consequently, we suggest that regardless of where Fisheries and Oceans decides to delineate its North – Central Integrated Management area, it is imperative that there be administrative mechanisms that link to adjacent planning areas.

Ardron , J.A., Paul, B.M. & Picard, C.R. 2004. Evaluation of large ocean management area options for British Columbia’s North-Central Coast.  Report Completed for Oceans Branch, Fisheries and Oceans Canada by the Pacific Marine Analysis and Research Association (PacMARA). 124 p.

Michele Patterson’s Master’s Thesis: “Towards Ecosystem-Based Management in Canada’s…

Towards Ecosystem- Based Management in Canada’s Northeast Pacific Ocean: Research Support for an Emerging Collaborative Science Initiative – By Michele Patterson: Michele Patterson RR MEM 2003 MA thesis April

In this paper, an analysis of the literature around governance, collaboration, complexity, the role of science in society, and new thinking about resource management was undertaken to show that collaborations such as PacMARA might actually be better at asking and answering the questions needed to inform an ecosystem-based management approach.

Marine Experts Workshop

PacMARA partnered with the B.C. Conservation Planning Tools Committee (CPTC) to lead a workshop with a goal of reviewing current and planned marine biodiversity spatial analyses and conservation planning assessment tools available in BC. The workshop was also held to identify how the tools can be used individually and together as an assessment “system” of the status of marine biodiversity and as a foundation of a conceptual framework to guide conservation planning in BC.

The workshop was funded by GeoConnections and Natural Resources Canada. The summary, completed in November 2005, can be downloaded here.