The rise in global demand for seafood has led many people to view shellfish aquaculture as an economically and ecologically viable source of seafood. However, interactions with the environment, existing industry, and societal values must be considered to ensure sustainability of this industry. Shellfish aquaculture in British Columbia (BC), Canada, showcases many of these issues. This review explores key socio-economic and ecological considerations for future growth of shellfish aquaculture on the central and north coast of BC, with implications for the continuing global expansion of the industry. Interactions among shellfish aquaculture, coastal groups, existing industries, and First Nations, as well as considerations under changing oceanic conditions are investigated. Expansion of shellfish aquaculture on the central and north coast of BC will need to be socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable. The results of this review strongly indicate that shellfish aquaculture should be incorporated in marine planning initiatives and developed in consideration of local ecological, environmental, economic, and social context.
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.
This dataset is an integrated list of marine-related assessments and reports produced for the Canadian Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans.