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Getting IT Right: Tell Us What You Want to Get Right


In September 2018, OFI Module I hosted a “Taking Stock Dialogue” as part of the initial stage of the research on ‘Informing Governance Responses in a Changing Ocean’. Sixty-five individuals from communities, government, and academia came together to capture the strengths, weaknesses, gaps and opportunities for sustainable fisheries, coastal communities, and ocean activities in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL). A key research question emerged from the Dialogue: “How do we govern and transition through change?” Building on this question, Module I researchers have been conducting in-depth research and case studies to explore key topics such as access to resources and markets, recruitment and retention, values and knowledge, health and safety, and vulnerability and viability. The research focuses on NL fisheries, also with a project about Nunatsiavut fisheries. The research is also linked to Atlantic fisheries more broadly, and to the rest of Canada, as well as other parts of the world through our international partners, particularly the Too Big To Ignore (TBTI) Global Partnership for Small- Scale Fisheries.

We are now approaching the final stage in the project, which aims to bring together lessons from the research to inform governance for fisheries and ocean sustainability. The “Getting IT Right” Dialogue is a key opportunity to facilitate discussion about the change and transition that may be required. Three cross-cutting themes are proposed for the Getting IT Right Dialogue, which capture the current governance discourse for fisheries and ocean sustainability. These are: (1) Getting the Blue Economy Right, (2) Getting the Governance Right and (3) Getting the Future Right. Additional themes may be developed after the consultation with the committee and other key stakeholders.

The Dialogue is tentatively scheduled to take place in St. John’s, as an ‘in-person’ meeting, in July/August 2022. As we plan for the Getting IT Right Dialogue, we invite all of you to tell us what you want “to get right” or what you think we should aim “to get right” for fisheries in NL and Atlantic Canada, more broadly. Please send your thoughts to or fill out this online form.

Read More About the Proposed Themes

Getting the Blue Economy Right aims to contextualize Canada’s Blue Economy Strategy for NL, focusing especially on understanding the requirements and expectations for “Blue Justice”  across different fisheries and ocean sectors. As described by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), the Blue Economy program has important implications to coastal and Indigenous communities that rely on fisheries and ocean (DFO, 2021). We anticipate critical perspectives and reflection on the challenges and opportunities for the design and implementation of the Blue Economy program in NL. Dialogue participants can help shape a transdisciplinary synthesis of inputs, guidance, cautions, and next steps for the Blue Economy in NL.

Getting the Governance Right aims to build a shared understanding of governance and decision-making across fisheries and ocean sectors in NL, which can help build capacity for achieving diverse objectives in Canada’s Fisheries Act (Stephenson et al. 2019). A shared understanding is important to develop timely and relevant policy recommendations (Soomai 2017a) and to build critical visions for governance, based on the current structures and functions of the governance system (Soomai 2017b). Dialogue participants can contribute to examining management approaches, decision-making processes of key actor groups, and governance arrangements in different fisheries and ocean sectors.

Getting the Future Right captures discussions about challenges and opportunities for fisheries and oceans sustainability in NL and Atlantic Canada, taking into consideration existing and anticipated changes. This is to cope with the uncertainty and complexity through decisions and innovation in fisheries and oceans that are difficult to predict as climate change and other drivers of change intensify (see Wilson et al. 2020). It also encourages taking proactive steps to build knowledge and adopt strategies for mitigation and adaptation (Boyd et al. 2015), including alternative options for governments and other governing actors to respond to changes (Brewer 2007). Dialogue participants are invited to bring perspectives and experience to explore principles, structures and processes needed to develop and achieve sustainable futures.

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