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Research Document - 2012/061

Recommendations for Science, Management, and an Ecosystem Approach in Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Maritimes Region

By K. Curran, A. Bundy, M. Craig, T. Hall, P. Lawton, and S. Quigley


Over the past few decades, a need has emerged for ocean regulators to embrace a broader approach to management that recognizes the complexities of marine ecosystems, confounding negative effects of incompatible management decisions, and the role of humans as agents and recipients of change. This is reinforced by the increase in degraded marine ecosystems and ocean user conflicts observed throughout the world. In Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Maritimes Region, a major change initiative is underway that is bringing together the various Departmental sectors in the region to develop a mutual path forward for incorporating an ecosystem approach into their daily operations, which is founded on an ecosystem approach and integrated approach to management. An ecosystem approach to management is management that places the ecosystem in the forefront, whereby its thresholds of change beyond those deemed to be acceptable determine the nature in which a collection of human activities should be managed, so the ecosystem remains within an acceptable range. Integrated management is the coordinated management between ocean regulators, sectors, and stakeholders of all human activities in a management area, so human-ecosystem and human-human interactions can be anticipated, supported, prevented, or mitigated. The goal of this research document is to recommend practical changes in support of an ecosystem approach that is consistent with the Department’s regional Ecosystem Approach to Management Framework. Recommendations consider the scientific experiences gained from the Gulf of Maine Ecosystem Research Initiative, as well as strategic policy directions of the Department.

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