In recent years, the research on ocean science has increased noticeably. Given the impact of this research, communities near the ocean may want to enrich their environmental knowledge to ensure our oceans’ future health. However, there is limited accessibility to this research; scientific information that might be publically accessible is often difficult to find and understand without proper background knowledge.
The pursuit of interdisciplinarity in the marine sciences is at last beginning to come into its own, but the kind of interdisciplinarity that bridges the social, human, health, and natural science realms remains rare. This article traces the evolution of my own history of interdisciplinarity from its early days when I worked in two disciplines, to the present when I have worked with many others to bring together the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and earth/ocean sciences in large projects that illuminate the interconnectedness of all these parts of knowledge acquisition. In the process, I have broadened my intellectual vision both in scope and scale, uncovering the many ways in which, quite pragmatically, the very local and the international are more tightly interconnected than is often realized, with all the implications for fisheries governance that that implies. This, then, is both a story and, I hope, a pathway to a rewarding way for young and middle-career fisheries scholars to pursue their research.
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.