Spring 2016: Highlights from Across the Partnership

The Atlantic Working Group has two new members.

Dr. Simon Courtenay is Canadian Water Network Scientific Director and Professor in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability, University of Waterloo. Prior to joining the Canadian Water Network in 2013, Simon was a Research Scientist for Fisheries and Oceans Canada (and a Research Professor at the University of New Brunswick) where he worked on salmon assessments, estuarine ecology and aquatic monitoring. Among his many roles, Simon is actively engaged in the Northumberland Strait Environmental Monitoring Partnership (NorSt-EMP) and the Community Aquatic Monitoring Program (CAMP) which is examining the health of estuaries in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Several graduate students, including Nicole Stamnes and Sondra Eger, are working with Simon on these initiatives.

Also joining the AWG is SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellow, Dr. Graham Epstein. Graham has an undergraduate degree in Ecology, a MSc. in Rural Planning and Development, and a PhD in Public Policy from Indiana University. Graham’s current research investigates how species licensing, participation and social networks affect fisher incentives to conserve forage species such as shrimp and capelin, and their ability to adapt to change. He is undertaking several OceanCanada research initiatives and building collaborative opportunities across working groups.

Simon Courtenay and Nicole Stamnes (MES student) participated in the DFO-Gulf Region synthesis workshop on Northumberland Strait (February, 2016). This workshop brought together what has been learned about the state of fisheries and the environment in the Northumberland Strait Region since concerns were expressed in 2005. Workshop recommendations will be used to guide future research and management by DFO in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence including a new national initiative on developing Marine Environmental Quality indicators, benchmarks and triggers.

Derek Armitage (University of Waterloo) has joined a unique initiative to incorporate human dimensions and governance issues into the management of Pacific herring. The Ocean Modeling Forum is bringing together First Nations, scientists and managers to generate integrated social-ecological assessments with the aim to improve decision making on ocean issues of critical importance. OceanCanada Advisory Board member, Russ Jones (Haida Nation), is also a member of the Ocean Modeling Forum, and was involved in the early stages of its development.

Working with Dr. Prateep Nayak (Principal Investigator, University of Waterloo), Atlantic Working Group members, Armitage, Courtenay, and Graham Epstein (PDF) recently received a workshop grant from the Water Institute (UW) to focus on rapid change and governance in coastal zones, using the Atlantic as one of the case study regions.