Science Advisory Report 2017/046
Science Guidance on Design Strategies for a Network of Marine Protected Areas in the Newfoundland and Labrador Shelves Bioregion
- A framework to set targets from an ecological perspective for operational objectives was presented. This framework developed targets for physical/habitat features, species functional groups and ‘at risk’ species in a similar methodology and, in general, worked well for relatively data rich areas of the bioregion.
- Minor modifications of the framework were suggested by this review, for example increasing targets for sessile/stationary features. Other modifications were suggested but no consensus was reached during the meeting on how to address them. It was agreed that these modifications could be completed in conjunction with a Science/Oceans Marine Protected Area (MPA) Network Committee and would not require additional review.
- The framework presented did not capture ecological attributes in the coastal zone at the same extent or scale as areas in the offshore. It is recommended that the targets set under this framework be used with caution in the coastal zone and another approach is necessary for these areas.
- Incorporation of Indigenous knowledge should be a consideration. Indigenous groups should be engaged in the collection and utilization of the knowledge they have. This is particularly important in data poor areas, including coastal areas in northern Labrador.
- The framework presented for fish/corals utilized the Fisheries and Oceans Canada research vessel (RV) survey as one of its major inputs; this survey does not cover coastal or deeper areas of the bioregion (>1,500 m) and recently has not covered the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Division 2G, northern Labrador.
- Some historical data for fish does exist for the NAFO 2GH region and it was agreed the area should be treated separately and targets set for features in this area be used with caution when making management decisions due to the age and sparseness of the data.
- It was recommended that when setting targets for representativity, Ecological Production Units (EPUs), Eco-units and underwater features be used.
- Spatial management may work for certain aspects of the environment (sessile species, biogenic habitats) better than others (highly mobile species). This fact should be kept in mind when considering the targets developed into final MPA network design.
- In light of ecosystem/climate change, these targets should be revisited and revised in at least five years but no more than 10 years. Adaptive management mechanisms should be included in the MPA network.
- Boreal/temperate gradient should be considered when using targets and a review of initial scenarios should take this gradient into account and ensure that targets are met in the north as well as the south. Conservation Priorities (CPs) should be captured across the distinct areas of the bioregion.
- Connectivity has not been addressed in this review; this should be studied further to understand how they may be incorporated into future network design processes and should be considered throughout the MPA network planning process.
- A range of conservation targets (low, medium, high) was discussed and agreed upon at the conclusion of this meeting. The low target should be considered as the minimum target that should be set for each feature for planning purposes.
- A sensitivity analysis of the targets themselves, as well as the inclusion or exclusion of each feature and groups of features proposed from this review, is recommended. This should be reviewed by a Science/Oceans MPA Network Committee.
- The targets presented in this review represent the ecological inputs for MPA design. It is understood this is only one attribute being considered for the overall design and it was recommended that, as the design is finalized, be reviewed by Science to ensure the network is still viable from an ecological perspective.
This Science Advisory Report is from the May 16-18, 2017 meeting Science Guidance on Design Strategies for a Network of Marine Protected Areas in the Newfoundland and Labrador Shelves Bioregion. Additional publications from this meeting will be posted on the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Science Advisory Schedule as they become available.
This document is available in PDF format. If the document is not accessible to you, please contact the Secretariat to obtain another appropriate format, such as regular print, large print, Braille or audio version.
- Date modified: