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Research Document - 2013/027

A National Synthesis of the Fisheries and Oceans Canada Ecosystem Research Initiative

By White, A.L., R.I. Perry, M.A. Koops, R.G. Randall, A. Bundy, P. Lawton, M. Koen-Alonso, D. Masson, P.S. Galbraith, M. Lebeuf, M. Lanteigne, and C. Hoover


Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s ‘Ecosystem Research Initiatives’ (ERIs) were conducted from 2007-2012.  The program was comprised of seven large-scale ecosystem research programs that focused on how Science could support the Department’s implementation of an ecosystem-approach to management (EAM). Delivery of the ERIs varied between DFO Regions but all studies advanced understanding of how Canadian aquatic ecosystems are structured and how they function. In addition, the ERIs provided the opportunity to learn valuable lessons with respect to the design, coordination, and implementation of complex science programming at the ecosystem scale. Key conclusions and advice from the ERIs include: 1) the need for multi-sector cooperation at regional and national levels to identify priorities for Science support to management/policy; 2) the need for new tools to assess cumulative impacts; and 3) the improvement of comprehensive ecosystem-level monitoring, assessment, and predictive capabilities. A national science advisory process was convened on November 14-15, 2012 to discuss various aspects of the ERI program; this document provided the background information to that meeting.

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