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Proposed Monitoring Framework for SGaan Kinghlas-Bowie Seamount Marine Protected Area, British Columbia, Canada

Regional Peer Review – Pacific Region

May 3-5, 2022
Virtual meeting

Chairperson: Sarah Dudas


The SGaan Kinghlas–Bowie (SK-B) Seamount Marine Protected Area (MPA) is located 180 km west of the Haida Gwaii archipelago in northern British Columbia (BC). This seamount is the shallowest seamount in the Offshore Pacific Bioregion, and includes a number of habitat types, from deep-sea coral and sponge gardens to shallow sub-tidal seaweed beds, and related biological communities. The Haida Nation has a historical, spiritual and cultural connection with the SK-B Seamount area. In recognition of its ecological and cultural significance, the area surrounding SK-B — and its two sister seamounts Hodgkin and Davidson/Pierce — was designated by the Haida Nation as a Haida MPA in 1997 and by Canada as an Oceans Act MPA in 2008. The cooperative management and planning of SK-B MPA is facilitated by the Management Board composed of representatives of the Council of the Haida Nation (CHN) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), and in July 2019 the partners completed the cooperatively developed SK-B MPA Management Plan. The management plan identifies goals, strategic objectives, and operational objectives for the MPA and describes how they will be achieved. A priority for implementation is the development of a monitoring plan as part of an adaptive co-management approach.

To support the SK-B Management Plan, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Oceans (on behalf of the SK-B Management Board) is requesting that Science Branch provide science advice related to indicators, protocols, and strategies for monitoring the SK-B MPA. Monitoring of biological and ecological indicators (and related threats) is essential for: 1) incorporating an ecological component into broader MPA monitoring ‘frameworks’, ‘plans’, or ‘programs’; 2) tracking status, condition, and trends to determine if MPAs are effective in achieving their conservation objectives; 3) aiding managers in the adjustment of MPA management plans to achieve conservation objectives; and 4) supporting the development of a reporting strategy to the Haida Nation, the Government of Canada, and Canadians.

This work will build on and integrate the results of recent Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS) processes that explored future monitoring work in the SK-B MPA. In 2015, scientists estimated the cumulative and relative risk posed by human activities to significant ecosystem components (SECs; e.g. corals, sponges, rockfish) by applying a regionally-developed Ecological Risk Assessment Framework (ERAF) to the SK-B context (DFO 2015; O et al. 2015). For SECs, stressors, and stressor-SEC interactions associated with higher risk in the ERAF outputs, DFO Science then proposed monitoring indicators, measurable indicator components, and data collection methods (Thornborough et al. 2016). This work follows the development of monitoring frameworks for the Gully MPA (Kenchington 2010) and Musquatch Estuary MPA (Cooper et al. 2011) on Canada’s east coast, as well as the national monitoring framework for coral and sponge areas identified as Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures (DFO 2021).

The advice arising from this CSAS Regional Peer Review (RPR) Process will be used by the SK-B MPA Management Board to develop recommendations for a proposed SK-B monitoring framework in support of the SK-B MPA conservation objectives. A monitoring framework is the first step towards a monitoring plan in which a scientifically defensible selection of indicators, protocols, and strategies are developed for the collection and analysis of baseline and monitoring data.


The following working paper will be reviewed and provide the basis for discussion and advice on the specific objectives outlined below.

Du Preez, Cherisse, Skil Jáada (Zahner, Vanessa), Gartner, Heidi, Chaves, Lais, Hannah, Charles, Swan, Kelly,and Norgard, Tammy. 2022. Proposed Monitoring Framework For SGaan Kinghlas-Bowie Seamount Marine Protected Area, British Columbia, Canada. CSAP Working Paper 2016OCN03.

The objectives of the science advice are as follows:

  1. Review baseline knowledge of the SK-B MPA ecosystem.
  2. Identify the ecological conservation goals, strategic objectives, and operational objectives outlined in the SK-B MPA Management Plan (CHN and DFO 2019).
  3. Propose monitoring indicators, protocols, and strategies for the collection and analysis of data to determine if the MPA is effective in achieving the ecological conservation objectives.
  4. Where possible, incorporate (i) anticipated changes in the SK-B MPA ecosystem (e.g. climate change, recovery from fishery impacts) (ii) pre-existing sources of data and/or information for the proposed monitoring indices, and (iii) feasibility of strategies.
  5. Evaluate the monitoring framework against the ecological conservation objectives described in the SK-B MPA management plan.
  6. Examine and identify uncertainties and limitations.

Expected Publications

Expected Participation



Participation to CSAS peer review meetings is by invitation only.

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