Terms of Reference
Identification of Reference Sites and a Scientific Monitoring Approach for the Laurentian Channel Marine Protected Area
Regional Peer Review - Newfoundland and Labrador Region
June 22-24, 2022
Chairpersons: Nadine Wells and Neil Ollerhead
National Marine Protected Area (MPA) guidance states that monitoring plans must address the MPA conservation objectives (COs) contained within Section 35 of the Oceans Act, including associated specific measurable objectives (i.e., particular species, habitats, or features to be protected by the MPA). For the Laurentian Channel MPA, the overarching goal is to “conserve biodiversity in the Laurentian Channel MPA through protection of key species and their habitats, ecosystem structure and function, and through scientific research”. There are six COs for the Laurentian Channel MPA:
- Protect corals, particularly significant concentrations of sea pens, from harm due to human activities (e.g., fishing, oil and gas exploratory drilling, submarine cable installation and anchoring) in the Laurentian Channel MPA.
- Protect Black Dogfish from human induced mortality (e.g., bycatch in the commercial fishery) in the Laurentian Channel MPA.
- Protect Smooth Skate from human induced mortality (e.g., bycatch in the commercial fishery) in the Laurentian Channel MPA.
- Protect Porbeagle sharks from human induced mortality (e.g., bycatch in the commercial fishery, seismic activities) in the Laurentian Channel MPA.
- Promote the survival and recovery of Northern Wolffish by minimizing risk of harm from human activities (e.g., bycatch in the commercial fishery) in the Laurentian Channel MPA.
- Promote the survival and recovery of Leatherback Sea Turtles by minimizing risk of harm from human activities (e.g., entanglement in commercial fishing gear, seismic activities) in the Laurentian Channel MPA.
MPA monitoring assesses the status of conservation priorities on which the COs are based, providing trends where available; and considers other ecosystem information as appropriate in order to incorporate greater context to any changes in components of interest over time. MPA monitoring can include the provision of reference areas to demonstrate if change has occurred resulting from a change at the treatment site. In 2014, DFO Science developed the framework for the identification of monitoring indicators, protocols and strategies for the Laurentian Channel MPA (DFO 2014).
This peer review process was requested by DFO Marine Planning and Conservation to inform the identification of reference sites and the development of a scientific monitoring approach for the Laurentian Channel MPA.
The objectives of the peer review process are to:
- Identify direct or indirect indicators and reference sites, where possible, that could be used to monitor the status and trends of the key species listed as part of the six COs, as well as overall biodiversity for the Laurentian Channel MPA. Those key species are as follows:
- Corals (sea pens);
- Black Dogfish;
- Smooth Skate;
- Porbeagle shark;
- Northern Wolffish; and
- Leatherback Sea Turtle.
- Develop a scientific monitoring approach for the Laurentian Channel MPA based on proposed indicators, survey methods, and strategies identified by Lewis et al. (2014). Each of the key species listed above will be considered when developing indicators, survey types, and study design considerations.
- Investigate the ability to assess MPA conservation priority species metrics using existing Research Vessel (RV) trawl survey data and seafloor imagery data. A case study for four CO species (Black Dogfish, Northern Wolffish, Smooth Skate, and sea pens) will be considered, however, the approach, simulation modelling, and evaluation of statistical power to detect temporal changes in species metrics could also be useful for other MPA applications.
Other necessary monitoring data that can inform on the overall health of the ecosystem and aid in the interpretation of indicators for the key species could also be proposed.
- Science Advisory Report
- Research Documents
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) (Science, Ecosystems Management and Resource Management Branches)
- Provincial/Territorial jurisdictions
- Indigenous groups
- DFO. 2015. Monitoring Indicators, Protocols and Strategies for the Proposed Laurentian Channel Marine Protected Area (MPA). DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2014/049.
- Lewis, S., Ramirez-Luna, V., Templeman, N., Simpson, M.R., Gilkinson, K., Lawson, J.W., Miri, C., and Collins, R. 2014. A Framework for the Identification of Monitoring Indicators Protocols and Strategies for the Proposed Laurentian Channel Marine Protected Area (MPA). DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2014/093. v + 55 p
Participation to CSAS peer review meetings is by invitation only.
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