Making a Splash with Marine Conservation

Stratos is excited to be providing professional services to Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) Integrated Oceans Management (IOM) and Marine Conservation Targets (MCT) programs.

In 2010, the Aichi Targets were established under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Under Target 11, Canada committed to conserve 10% of its coastal and marine areas through effectively managed networks of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures by 2020. This commitment was reconfirmed in 2015, and in 2016 the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard announced an interim target of conserving 5% of Canada’s coastal and marine areas by 2017.

These are ambitious targets. Canada has the seventh largest ocean area and the longest coastline in the world and many Canadians’ lives and livelihoods are linked to the oceans. As DFO works toward the MCTs, they are engaging with a diverse group of Indigenous peoples, provincial and territorial governments, and stakeholders, including fishing and shipping industries, tourism operators and recreational users, and non-governmental and community organizations.

Currently a little over 1% of Canada’s marine area is conserved through protected areas or other effective measures such as fisheries closures. Increasing this to 5% and then to 10% will require a lot of work in a short period of time and the coordination of many different players including stakeholder communities, branches and programs within DFO and across the regions, as well as other federal departments and provincial & territorial governments. Stratos is providing the following professional services to DFO as the Department strives to achieve these goals:

  • Facilitating workshops that bring together practitioners from DFO’s six regions and national headquarters. These workshops provide opportunities to share information and lessons from the various regions, to determine and agree upon consistent approaches to complex issues, and provide training or information on tools and processes. Stratos has also facilitated a regional workshop where Indigenous peoples and other interested parties have come together to identify possible areas of interest that could ultimately move towards becoming MPAs in the future.

  • Developing and facilitating a process to identify, assess, and manage risks. Stratos is helping to refine the program’s risk framework and to develop an associated risk guidance document. Ecological risk assessments are conducted for particular ocean areas to identify and assess the risks of potential activities (e.g. fisheries, oil tanker traffic) to conservation objectives. The risk guidance will help ensure a consistent approach in the conduct of assessments and in the use of risk information to inform decisions related to MPAs and other measures.

  • Developing tools for project management and communications. Given the high profile of this work domestically and internationally, there is a need for tools to track progress toward the targets while reducing the time practitioners spend preparing updates so that they can focus on advancing the work required to designate areas for conservation, and make course corrections in a timely way.

More information on Canada’s Marine Conservation Targets can be found here: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans/conservation/index-eng.html

For more information on Stratos’ work for DFO and other federal departments, contact Barb Sweazey, Stratos Director of Organizational Effectiveness.