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Research Document 2019/065

Review of the indicators and recommendations for an Ecological Monitoring Plan for the Banc-des-Américains Marine Protected Area

By Faille, G., Laurian, C., McQuinn, I., Roy, V., Galbraith, P., Savenkoff, C., Côté, G. and Benoît, H.P.


In 2011, the surrounding area of American Bank has been identified as an Area of Interest (AOI) since a wide diversity of habitats is present, which generates a biological hot spot for several pelagic, demersal and benthic species. In March 2019, Canada and Québec governments signed the Canada-Quebec joint project agreement regarding the Banc-des-Américains marine protected area (MPA) allowing the establishment of a MPA at this site to promote long term biological productivity and diversity of the fishery resources as well as the recovery of species at risk.
As part of this MPA, the science sector has identified features of the ecosystem, anthropogenic pressures and related indicators to monitor adequately and to ensure conservation objectives are met. Following the expert review, 33 indicators were selected: 11 indirect indicators for physical and chemical oceanography and the pelagic ecosystem, 9 direct indicators for the benthic and demersal ecosystem, 4 indicators relating to species at risk (whales and Atlantic wolffish) and 9 indicators for monitoring anthropogenic pressures. The review of existing surveys and the data they provide has identified several programs, such as the AZMP program and multispecies surveys, that can be used to monitor many indicators. In some case, these surveys could be enhanced to improve the spatial coverage in or near the MPA. However, for 10 indicators, 6 new surveys woud be needed to monitor them. To review and validate some ecosystem features, pressures and indicators and to specify all the protocols needed for monitoring, it is recommended to set up a scientific committee that will propose a comprehensive monitoring plan and work on its implementation.

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