November 9-10, 2010 - St.John's Newfoundland
Chairperson: Bill Brodie
Under the Health of the Oceans Initiative, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Science sector provides advice in support of the establishment and management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). This process was initiated with the identification of Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs). On June 8, 2010, following the conclusion of an 18 month regional site selection process and subsequent approval, the Minister announced the Laurentian Channel as an Area of Interest (AOI; Figure 1 – Appendix A) for potential MPA establishment.
Once an AOI is identified, detailed information on the key biophysical attributes of the area is required. This biophysical overview will assist the Department in refining conservation objectives, delineating boundaries, and determining if an Oceans Act MPA is the appropriate management tool for the site. If the Laurentian Channel MPA is established, the biophysical overview will inform monitoring protocols and strategies, identification of information gaps, and the development of a management plan for the area.
In order to ascertain the necessary breadth and scope of the various components of the ecosystem to be addressed in the overview, and to ensure the accurate consideration of the significance of this area to the life histories of those species identified for potential conservation, areas adjacent to the AOI should also be considered as necessary. Considering the geographic scale at which scientific information is currently collected and reported, the study area for the biophysical overview is recommended as NAFO areas 3Ps west of the Canada-France Maritime Boundary, as well as 3Pn.
The overall objective of the meeting is to provide advice on key physical and biological features of the Laurentian Channel AOI (and adjacent area as required) as they pertain to potential conservation priorities, the subsequent development of conservation objectives, and information for the development of management strategies. Potential conservation priorities for the Laurentian Channel AOI include: Black dogfish, Basking shark, Cod, Haddock, Monkfish, Pollock, Porbeagle shark, Redfish, Smooth skate, Spiny dogfish, Thorny skate, White hake, Wolffish, Cetaceans, Leatherback seaturtles, and Corals (specifically seapens). Therefore, it is expected that the following information pertaining to the study area will be addressed:
The Regional Advisory meeting will generate a proceedings report summarizing the deliberations of the participants. This will be published in the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS) Proceedings Series on the CSAS website. The advice from the meeting will be published as a Science Advisory Report and the working paper reviewed at the meeting, which provides the support for the advice, will be published as a CSAS Research Document.
DFO Science, DFO Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk, DFO Ecosystem and Fisheries Management, Provincial Governments, Academia, Industry, and Stakeholders
Figure 1. Laurentian Channel Area of Interest within the Placentia Bay-Grand Banks Large Ocean Management Area.