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Upcoming event! 4WSFC North America to take place in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

The 4WSFC North America is co-hosted by Memorial University and OFI Module I, in partnership with TBTI Global and other key organizations.

Registration for the congress is open until June 10 (June 1 for those presenting).


Getting IT Right

The 4WSFC North America is framed by the work done within the OFI Module I and serves as a platform for headlining the research conducted during the Module I second phase. The congress theme 'Getting IT Right' aligns with the Module I original plan to facilitate dialogue about and across different dimensions of change and transition, imagined as many ITs needed to achieve and maintain sustainable fisheries, coastal communities, and ocean activities.

The congress aims to discuss bold prospects and innovative ideas and strategies needed to address pressing issues for North America’s small-scale fisheries, and fisheries and ocean sustainability, set within the context of a changing ocean, the Covid-19 pandemic, and climate change, among other challenges.

Within and across the seven themes, we welcome participation from fishers and fishing communities, industry, government, civil society, and academia, interested in fisheries and ocean sustainability in the North America region. The congress will be an opportunity to share experiences and lessons learned, talk about what is already being done right and/or discuss ideas about prospects for what can be done better for moving forward. The congress will feature seven plenary sessions, organized around seven main themes.


Plenary session 1. Getting ADAPTATION Right


• Sonia Strobel, Skipper Otto, Canada

• Rick Williams, Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters, Canada

• Kanae Tokunage, Gulf of Maine Research Institute, USA

Small-scale fisheries in North America face many challenges yet have to potential to be resilient and adapt to changing social, economic, and ecological conditions. This interactive plenary session will feature several panelists exploring how to ‘Get Adaptation Right’, with a focus on access and infrastructure considerations, overcoming labor and market challenges, identifying knowledge/data requirements for adaptation planning, and highlighting innovative approaches and tools for responding to change, including examples of policies and programs that exist or are needed for adaptation in SSF.


Plenary session 2. Making Connections for Getting SMALL Right


• Rosemary Ommer, University of Victoria, Canada

• Dean Bavington, Memorial University, Canada

• Hannah Harrison, University of Guelph, Canada

• Jennifer Ford, Fisheries and Oceans, Canada

This plenary explores what it means to be ‘small’ in coastal and marine systems, and how we can better understand and support connections to understand diverse interactions in coastal social-ecological systems. Making connections is at the heart of making sense of small-scale fisheries, including their relationships with other aspects of coastal and marine sustainability. This plenary seeks to foster and enable connections among ideas to enrich and broaden discussion about how to Get Small Right in complex coastal and marine systems. As such, the plenary builds on previous plenaries and sessions, and feeds into discussions about the future. The plenary will feature three presentations from researchers and practitioners, followed by an opportunity to ask questions. Then, guided by key questions, attendees will discuss what they see as key connections for small-scale fisheries in coastal and marine systems.


Plenary 3. Getting CONSERVATION Right


• Tyler Eddy (Marine Institute, Memorial University)

• Brice Trouillett (Nantes University)

• Patricia Clay (NOAA)

• Other speakers being confirmed soon!

This plenary presents diverse perspectives about marine conservation in Canada, USA and across the Atlantic as means to understand research and policy opportunities to build capacity for inclusive marine conservation. Marine and ocean users and leaders, whether Indigenous or non-indigenous, inshore and offshore industries, environmental organizations or community groups, may have different perspectives, visions and values related to marine and ocean conservation. Non-users may be latent in the discussion about marine conservation, even though they may feel like they too have something to contribute. To help facilitate a broad and inclusive view of marine conservation, to exchange lessons with conservation efforts elsewhere, and to foster opportunities for future research and practice, this plenary brings together representatives from diverse groups and sectors to share their conservation story, discuss their vision for marine conservation, and talk about pathways for action.


Plenary Session 4. Getting GOVERNANCE Right


• Barb Neis, Memorial University, Canada

• Bonnie McCay, Professor Emerita at Rutgers University, USA

• Madeleine Hall-Arber, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

To be successful, at the heart of governance is collaboration. This session will consider joint governance among communities, government, civil society, and academic organizations engaged in small-scale fisheries. The first part of the session will feature a keynote panel of speakers with a broad range of experiences on small-scale fisheries governance issues and considerations including stakeholder rights, knowledge acquisition and sharing, the impact of local and regional values, and the importance of inclusion. Importantly they can also speak to big picture issues framing governance in a systems perspective.


Plenary session 5. Getting BLUE ECONOMY Right


• Robert Pascal, Fisheries and Oceans, Canada

• Peter Halmay, Fishermen's Marketing Association San Diego, USA

• Charles Mather, Memorial University, Canada

In this plenary, we hear about efforts and processes in Canada and the US to plan the Blue Economy as well as how considerations of ‘Blue Justice’ and ‘Blue Communities’ are being taken into account. We also hear from a panel of Indigenous and scale-scale fishers about what the Blue Economy means to them and their futures as ocean stewards and resource users. This session seeks to stimulate research and policy dialogue about how to situate small-scale fisheries and aquaculture in the Blue Economy, including understanding community connections.


Plenary session 6. Exploring New Transdisciplinary Frontiers to Get the FUTURE Right Getting


• Ken Paul, Wolastoqey Nation of New Brunswick, Canada

• Momo Kochen, Momo Kochen, Future of Fish, USA

• Hekia Bodwitch, Dalhousie University, Canada

• Rob Stephenson, Fisheries and Oceans, Canada

This plenary brings together researchers, industry, and practitioners to discuss what is needed to Get the Future Right for marine and freshwater social-ecological systems in North America. Calls are emerging for societies to better anticipate and address future changes to fisheries and their associated communities and economies in Canada and abroad. Interacting drivers such as resource use, climate change, practices of settler colonialism, ageing infrastructure, and economic development are intensifying the complexity and uncertainty of changes to ecosystem health, livelihoods and human wellbeing. New transdisciplinary interactions are needed to support more proactive governance of these systems. This plenary aims to encourage those interactions through a mixture of speakers who present different ways of thinking, navigating and steering the future.


Plenary session 7. Getting Everything Right

The final plenary session will include participation from the following speakers:

• Kevin Anderson, Fisheries and Oceans, Canada

• Paul Foley, Memorial University, Canada

• Kimberly Orren, Fishing for Success, Canada


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.

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