Maintaining coastal and Indigenous community access to marine resources and the ocean in Canada.

Access to marine resources and the ocean is important for the well-being of coastal populations.
In Canada, the ability of many coastal and Indigenous communities to access and benefit from the ocean is a growing issue. Access for coastal and Indigenous communities should be a priority  consideration in all policies and decision-making processes related to fisheries and the ocean in Canada. Taking action now could reverse the current trend and ensure that coastal and Indigenous communities thrive in the future.

Coastal and Indigenous community access to marine resources and the ocean: a policy imperative for Canada.

Access, defined as the ability to use and benefit from available marine resources or areas of the ocean or coast, is important for the well-being and sustainability of coastal communities. In Canada, access to marine resources and ocean spaces is a significant issue for many coastal and Indigenous communities due to intensifying activity and competition in the marine environment.

Towards an integrated database on Canadian ocean resources: benefits, current states, and research gaps.

Oceanic ecosystem services support a range of human benefits and Canada has extensive research networks producing growing datasets. We present a first effort to compile, link and harmonize available information to provide new perspectives on the status of Canadian ocean ecosystems and corresponding research. The metadata database currently includes 1,094 individual assessments and datasets from government (n=716), non-government (n=320), and academic sources (n=58), comprising research on marine species, natural drivers and resources, human activities, ecosystem services, and governance, with datasets spanning from 1979-2012 on average. Overall, research shows a strong prevalence towards single-species fishery studies, with an underrepresentation of economic and social aspects, and of the Arctic region in general. Nevertheless, the number of studies that are multi-species or ecosystem-based have increased since the 1960s. We present and discuss two illustrative case studies—marine protected area establishment in Canada, and herring resource use by the Heiltsuk First Nation—highlighting the use of multi-disciplinary datasets drawn from metadata records. Identifying knowledge gaps is key to achieving the comprehensive, accessible and interdisciplinary datasets and subsequent analyses necessary for new sustainability policies that meet both ecological and socioeconomic needs.