Publications

2016

Bioeconomics of ocean acidification effects on fisheries targeting calcifier species: a decision theory approach.
The impact of ocean acidification on fisheries is a relatively new issue facing decision-makers, and one for which very little empirical data is available to draw upon. This paper demonstrates how, despite the lack of knowledge, well-established methods of bioeconomic modelling and decision analysis can be applied to address the challenge. A decision support framework is developed, incorporating a dynamic age-structured bioeconomic model together with a set of decision tables applicable in the absence of known probabilities of future change. With such a model it is possible to trace ocean acidification as an additional stressor, specifically on fisheries targeting calcifier species, such as many high value mollusks. We do so by shifting growth and natural mortality parameters into time varying functions of ocean acidity (pH), as forecasted by climate scenarios reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Possible effects of ocean acidification on calcifier species with various life cycles were modeled beginning with initial biological parameters of the growth and mortality dynamic functions reflecting differences in individual growth, natural mortality and species longevity. The analysis illustrates how fishery outcomes depend on the extent of ocean acidification and the life cycle of calcifier species. Results also indicate that under uncertainty, there is value in taking precautionary management measures, such as reducing fishing intensity.

Canada at a crossroad: the imperative for realigning ocean policy with ocean science.
Canada’s ocean ecosystem health and functioning is critical to sustaining a strong maritime economy and resilient coastal communities. Yet despite the importance of Canada’s oceans and coasts, federal ocean policy and management have diverged substantially from marine science in the past decade. In this paper, key areas where this is apparent are reviewed: failure to fully implement the Oceans Act, alterations to habitat protections historically afforded under Canada’s Fisheries Act, and lack of federal leadership on marine species at risk. Additionally, the capacity of the federal government to conduct and communicate ocean science has been eroded of late, and this situation poses a significant threat to current and future oceans public policy. On the eve of a federal election, these disconcerting threats are described and a set of recommendations to address them is developed. These trends are analyzed and summarized so that Canadians understand ongoing changes to the health of Canada’s oceans and the role that their elected officials can play in addressing or ignoring them. Additionally, we urge the incoming Canadian government, regardless of political persuasion, to consider the changes we have documented and commit to aligning federal ocean policy with ocean science to ensure the health of Canada’s oceans and ocean dependent communities.

Place-based or sector-based adaptation? A case study of municipal and fishery policy integration.
Place-based adaptation planning is an approach to address cross-sectoral and multi-level governance concerns as well as to build local adaptive capacity in vulnerable resource-dependent communities facing the adverse impacts of climate change. In contrast, sector-based adaptation planning focuses on addressing climate change impacts on individual economic sectors (e.g. fisheries or forestry) or sub-sectors (such as lobsters or timber). Yet, linking sectoral approaches with local adaptation policies is challenging. More effort is needed to identify opportunities for complementary adaptation strategies and policy integration to foster multiple benefits. In this article, we use a case study of fishery sector resources and municipal adaptation planning in Nova Scotia to demonstrate how meaningful entry points could catalyse policy integration and lead to co-benefits across multiple levels and stakeholder groups. Drawing on a fisheries systems and fish chain framework, we identify and assess several entry points for policy integration across sector- and place-based adaptation domains within coastal habitats, as well as harvesting, processing, and marketing sectors. The analysis highlights the multiple benefits of integrating local municipal adaptation plans with multi-scale resource sectors especially towards monitoring ecosystem changes, protecting essential infrastructure, and securing local livelihoods.

The relationship of social capital and fishers’ participation in multi-level governance arrangements.
The need for effective multi-level governance arrangements is becoming increasingly urgent because of complex functional interdependencies between biophysical and socioeconomic systems. We argue that social capital plays an important role in such systems. To explore the relationship between social capital and participation in resource governance arenas, we analyzed various small-scale fisheries governance regimes from the Gulf of California, Mexico. The components of social capital that we measured include levels of fishers’ structural ties to relevant groups and levels of trust in different entities (i.e. cognitive component). We collected data using surveys and interviews with residents of small-scale fishing communities adjacent to marine protected areas. We analyzed the data using a logistic regression model and narrative analysis. The results of our quantitative analysis highlight the multidimensional nature of social capital and reveals complex relationships between different types of social capital and fisher participation in monitoring, rulemaking and MPA design. Furthermore our qualitative analysis suggests that participation in fisheries conservation and management is not fully potentialized due to the social and historical context of participatory spaces in Mexico.