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Governance in a Changing North Atlantic Ocean: 
A Webinar Series for Sustainable Ocean & 
Viable Fishing Communities

The ocean and our relationship to it has undergone several transformations over the last decades, moving rapidly from the once prosperous groundfish fishery to shellfish and pelagics, and now again facing shifts in resource abundance while climate change proceeds amidst uncertain socio-economic scenarios. From taking stock to getting it right, Ocean Frontier Institute’s Research Module I ‘Informing Governance Responses in a Changing Ocean’ aims to understand the consequences of social, ecological, economic and institutional changes for the future of fisheries, coastal communities and the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. In doing so, we also explore options for governments and other governing actors to respond to these changes in order to help achieve sustainable ocean and viable future for fishing communities in the province.

The webinar series ‘Governance in a Changing North Atlantic Ocean’ organized by OFI Module I is a forum for researchers, governments, industries and communities to share knowledge and discuss key governance issues, such as access to fisheries resources and markets, recruitment, training and retention into fisheries, people’s perceptions, values and knowledge of the ocean, marine operational health and safety, vulnerability and viability of coastal communities, indigenous fisheries and fisher’s knowledge of groundfish fisheries. Outputs from the webinar will be used in the preparation of the “Getting It Right” event to be held in 2021.

All webinars will be open to the public and held at noon (Newfoundland time) from September 15 to October 1, 2020. No registration is required. Click on the links below to join the webinars of your choice.


An Ocean of Benefits: Using Access Analyses to Inform Governance Responses in a Changing Ocean


September 15, 2020

12:00 – 13:30 (NDT)


Chair: Dr. Paul Foley, OFI Module I-1 lead

Speaker: Dr. Courtenay Parlee, OFI Module I-1 Post-doctoral Fellow

Contributors: Dr. Paul Foley, Dr. Charles Mather, Dr. Gabriela Sabau, Ruyel Miah, Dr. Maria Andree Lopez, and Dr. Rob Stephenson

Welcome remarks by: Dr. Ratana Chuenpagdee, OFI Module I Lead

This presentation will address the challenge of integrating social science into governance processes by bringing two independently developed frameworks into conversation, the Canadian Fisheries Research Network’s Comprehensive Fisheries Sustainability Framework, and Ribot and Peluso’s social science Theory of Access. The presentation will illustrate how these frameworks can enrich the conversation about how to include socio-economic objectives around distribution of access and benefits into governance and management decisions with a case study of the Northern Shrimp fishery in the 1990s off the Northeast Coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. It will conclude with remarks on how access analyses can “inform governance responses in a changing ocean”.  


Recruitment, Training & Retention: Ensuring Intergenerational Equity of North Atlantic Fisheries


September 17, 2020 

12:00 – 13:30 (NDT)


Chair: Dr. Nicole Power, OFI Module I-2 Lead

Speakers: Dr. María Andrée López Gómez, OFI Module I-2 Post-doctoral Fellow; Mark Dolomount, Professional Fish Harvesters Certification Board; Dr. Christine Knott, OFI Module M Post-doctoral Fellow

Welcome remarks by: Dr. Barbara Neis, OFI Module I Co-investigator

This presentation will focus on recruitment, training and retention (RTR) of people in small-scale fisheries in Newfoundland and Labrador. We will provide an overview of the changes in the fisheries workforce and the surrounding factors that had an impact on employment in this sector. This will include a focus on fisheries policies and how they may have had an impact on recruitment and retention. We will describe the ongoing research of the RTR Module which includes the process for developing an online survey for owner-operators and crew members (the survey will be launched at the end of October), interviews with fish harvesters and people interested in the fishery, and collaborations with other groups involved in socio-economic research surrounding fisheries. Two special guests will join us. Mark Dolomount from the Professional Fish Harvesters Certification Board will join us for a Q&A. If you have any questions related to training please feel free to email them to prior to the webinar. Our other guest is OFI Future Ocean and Coastal Infrastructures (FOCI) post-doctoral fellow Christine Knott who will present her work on intergenerational equity.


People & Place: Exploring Values and Relationships between Communities, Fisheries & Ocean


September 22, 2020

12:00 – 13:30 (NDT)



Chair: Dr. Ratana Chuenpagdee, OFI Module I Lead

Speakers: Monica Engel, OFI Module I PhD Candidate; Evan Andrews, University of Waterloo PhD Candidate

The values and relationships between communities, fisheries and ocean are well recognized but difficult to describe or quantify. Thus, they are often not properly considered in management and decision-making. A better understanding of a range of values and worldviews of communities about fisheries and ocean and how they perceive their role and relationship with the natural surrounding is imperative for improving governance. The observation and knowledge of the communities about the place they live, and the changes taken place around them, provide valuable information for the development of sustainable fisheries and ocean. This webinar offers two methodological approaches applied in different contexts to demonstrate the intricacies of values for natural resources, and illustrate how to explore the people and place relationship.


Marine Health & Safety: Reducing Risk


September 24, 2020

12:00 – 13:30 (NDT)


Chair: Dr. Joel Finnis, OFI Module I-4 Lead

Speakers: Dr. Barbara Neis, OFI Module I-4 Co-investigator; Desai Shan, OFI Module I-4 Co-investigator; Brenda Greenslade, Module I Advisory Committee member (NL-FHSA); Joshua Ryan, OFI Module I-4 Master's student, Alexandria Major, OFI Module I-4 Master's student, Dr. Robert Brown, OFI Module I-4 Co-investigator; Lorenzo Moro, OFI Module I-4 Co-investigator; Dr. Emily Reid-Musson, OFI Module I-4 Post-doctoral Fellow

Welcome remarks by: Dr. Barbara Neis, OFI Module I-4 Co-investigator 

The marine environment is recognized as a particularly hazardous setting for work, presenting multiple highly variable (and frequently additive) risks to health and safety. Addressing this risk requires consideration of a range of factors, including: awareness of weather impacts on a changeable environment; industrial hazards presented by moving vessels of varying size and equipment; the effects of worker fatigue; and impact of governance approaches (e.g. fisheries management options), among others. This webinar examines aspects of marine occupational health & safety (OHS), with a focus on fisheries. In addition to providing an overview of the current state of marine OHS governance and initiatives in Atlantic Canada, presenters will address the role of weather briefings in fisheries co-management and knowledge co-production, the potential for protective gear in reducing risk, and an exploration of noise exposure on fishing vessels and its impact on long-term health. 


Understanding Vulnerability and Moving Towards Viability for Fishing Communities


September 29, 2020

12:00 – 13:30 (NDT)

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Chair: Dr. Gabriela Sabau, OFI Module I-5 Lead

Speakers: Dr. Ratana Chuenpagdee, OFI Module I Lead; Md. Ruyel Miah, OFI Module I-5 Master's student; Dr. Prateep Nayak, OFI Module I-5 Collaborator

Many fishing and coastal communities are healthy and resilient, and have been able to cope and adapt to different types of changes, from those related to climate, socioeconomics and regulations. Yet, many of them are not as strong, with less capacity and assets, and several are geographically, economically and politically marginalized. For these communities, large- or small-scale change can have major impacts on their wellbeing and livelihoods and can put them in a highly vulnerable position. What small-scale fisheries and coastal communities are vulnerable to, and how, are important questions to address, as well as what needs to be done to make them vulnerable. This webinar presents some examples of this through a quick scan of vulnerability to small-scale fisheries and coastal communities around the world due to Covid-19, with an emphasis on impacts on access to markets for fishing people in Atlantic Canada. It will also include a presentation about a novel concept novel concept “social-ecological regime shifts” to evaluate the challenges and the impacts of changes on these communities, as well as discussion about moving from vulnerability to viability.


The Commercial Fishery in Nunatsiavut: Past, Present, and Future


October 1, 2020

12:00 – 13:30 (NDT)

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Chair: Aaron Dale, Torngat Wildlife, Plants, and Fisheries Secretariat
Speakers: Morgon Mills, Labrador Institute; Rachael Cadman, OFI Module I-A PhD student, Dalhousie University
In this session we will weave a thread from the past, through the present, and to the future of commercial fisheries in Nunatsiavut. The structure will include three short presentations: a history of commercial fishing in Nunatsiavut (Morgon Mills),  an analysis and reflection on the current status of commercial fishing in Nunatsiavut (Aaron Dale), and the development of a strategy to envision the future of commercial fishing in Nunatsiavut (Rachael Cadman). Together we explore the merits and the implications of holistic, long-term, fisheries management.  Is this what Indigenous knowledge inclusion looks like in contemporary Canada? This is the question we ask ourselves, and we hope you will join us in our reflection. The session will prioritise dialogue and discussion, and we encourage all attendees to consider themselves as panelists, as we probe the way forward for Indigenous knowledge in fisheries conservation and management. 



Ocean Frontier Institute's Module I 'Informing Governance Responses in a Changing Ocean' is an interdisciplinary component of a larger collaborative research initiative established in 2016 through funding support from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. More specifically, OFI Module I research examines the consequences of social, ecological and institutional changes for the future of fisheries, coastal communities and the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador. It also explores alternative options for governments and other governing actors to respond to these changes in order to help achieve a sustainable future. 

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