Getting Conservation Right – Website Launch
By Poppy Keogh and Evan J. Andrews
Middle Cove, NL, Canada | Photo credit: Jan Hong Jin
This ‘In Focus’ piece highlights the recently launched website, Getting Conservation Right, that focuses on marine conservation in Newfoundland and Labrador. What does it mean to get marine conservation right? This platform offers a collaborative space for people to talk about this big question and sets the stage for learning about exciting prospects for marine conservation in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Last week, a team including members from OFI Module I, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador and Too Big To Ignore Global Partnership launched a new website platform, Getting Conservation Right. The aims of the platform are to build awareness about marine and ocean conservation in Newfoundland and Labrador, make visible the connections between people and ocean, share stories about coastal communities in conservation, and enhance knowledge about the importance of life below and above water. This is done using interactive content, including games to pique your interest on marine species in Newfoundland and Labrador and their conservation status, as well as opportunities to build a marine conservation network in Newfoundland and Labrador through the sharing of experiences, art and stories inspired by the ocean from around the province.
This project came from the need to start conversations about marine conservation in the province in light of ambitious Marine Conservation Targets. These include protecting 25% of Canada’s oceans by 2025 and 30% by 2030. The project seeks to learn more about connections between the targets and the communities in Newfoundland and Labrador which rely on the healthy ocean for their livelihoods, inspiration, sense of place, and community health and wellbeing. These underpin a broad and important understanding of marine conservation, which includes meeting and sustaining Marine Conservation Targets in Newfoundland and Labrador. Creating a balance between conserving the biodiversity and health of our oceans currently relies on tools such as the implementation of Marine Protected Areas and Marine Reserves, with an emphasis on the spatial aspect of marine conservation through Marine Spatial Planning. This project explores all approaches for marine conservation and invites different perspectives on how to get ocean users, actors and communities involved.
This project is inspired by stories, experiences and interests of coastal community members as well as current research which is trying to better understand connections and relationships for marine conservation on a global scale. A recent study published by Jefferson et al (2022), ‘Safeguarding Seafood Security, Marine Biodiversity and Threatened Species: Can We Have Our Fish and Eat It too? ’, discusses the importance of balancing both food security and conservation objectives in the ocean space and concludes that it is in fact possible to reach the global conservation targets, like the IUCN call for the protection of 30 per cent of the ocean by 2030, without affecting food security by the drastic reduction in catch allowances. In a blog post about the paper, ‘Protecting 30 per cent of the ocean by 2030 would barely impact fisheries ’, the authors point out that the study “also shows the importance of incorporating resource access for small-scale communities when designing global ocean management, such that local fisher livelihoods are considered within conservation scenarios”. This lends well to the goals of Getting Conservation Right, as it highlights the importance of community led conservation, by fostering why marine conservation is important to coastal communities around the world.
For now, we start with Newfoundland and Labrador, a province rich in culture centered on the health of our oceans and the access to its resources for its local communities. We invite you to check out the newly published website where you can learn more about why getting marine conservation right is important and find out how you can contribute to marine conservation in Newfoundland and Labrador! You can also join us in St. John’s in June for more conversation about this at the 4th World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress for the North America.
Poppy is a research assistant for the Ocean Frontier Institute Module I. She recently completed her MSc in Geography at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. Her research focused on the benthic ecology of the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone, with emphasis on deep-sea corals and sponges, and how the results from her thesis can contribute to the establishment of a Marine Protected Area in the North Atlantic. Poppy is particularly interested in the decision-making processes behind the establishment of MPAs and their long-term viability. She is passionate about all things science communication.
Evan J. Andrews is an environmental policy scientist working at the intersections of governance, social change, and transdisciplinarity, largely in the context of inland and coastal fisheries. He holds a postdoctoral research fellowship in the Ocean Frontier Institute and Too Big To Ignore, and is based at Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Canada. He is the co-founder and -lead for SSF-CAN: A Research Network for Small-Scale Fisheries in Canada, and is currently serving an appointment as the Vice President of the Society of Policy Scientists.