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Research Document - 2016/041

Putting offsetting and monitoring on the map: tracking and monitoring fish habitat and productivity changes using GIS

By C.N. Bakelaar, A.G. Doolittle, R.G. Randall, A. Doherty and J. Thomas


The objective of the Fisheries Protection Program (FPP) in Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is to maintain or enhance the ongoing productivity and sustainability of commercial, recreational and Aboriginal fisheries. One component is ‘ensuring that proponents of projects that cause serious harm to fish are required to offset that harm to maintain and enhance the productivity of the fishery’ (DFO 2013a). Monitoring and reporting of conditions are part of the offsetting plan.  A component of an effective monitoring plan could be to develop and implement a geographic information system (GIS)-based ‘Geospatial Decision Support Tool’ as a framework. The key inputs (data management, spatial datasets, and proponent data) and outputs (habitat assessment and visualization tools) of the proposed GIS tool are described, along with the role of science.

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