Clear Seas Symposium


On March 29-31, 2017, we will be hosting the symposium ‘Clear Seas: Transparency in ocean science and ocean governance‘ in Halifax Nova Scotia.

REGISTER HERE (non-presenters)

Symposium Rationale

The global oceans are becoming increasingly transparent. While once the great unknown, innovations in technology (i.e., acoustic and satellite telemetry, accelerometry, autonomous underwater vehicles) have allowed us to see the depths of the ocean like never before. But it is not just what is happening under the surface that is becoming more transparent. Improved satellite and remote sensing technology coupled with a decrease in the costs of this technology means that activities happening on the ocean are also being systematically uncovered. This era of ocean transparency is tied to an era of democratization of information more generally. But there is an urgent need to couple ‘ocean transparency’ with ‘governance transparency.’ How are data about our oceans being used, and by whom? Who are the winners and losers in the ocean transparency age, and how can we best leverage ocean data for the benefit of Canadians?

We will convene a three-day symposium with a focus on natural and social science knowledge exchange surrounding ocean data and information transparency. The meeting will bring together social and natural scientists, members of indigenous and small-scale fishing communities and organizations, government, and other relevant practitioners to discuss and identify best practices for the exchange and flow of information from data generation, availability and access, to use by practitioners and the public. Participants will share and synthesize information to help inform and create solution pathways that will lead to a ‘best practices’ document for oceans data and information transparency.

A draft agenda can be found here: Conference agenda_M10

Knowledge mobilization

Knowledge will be mobilized throughout the symposium via professional facilitation, plenary sessions, and small working groups, and after the symposium, through two key documents. The first is a peer-reviewed publication in the journal Marine Policy, where the issues surrounding ocean transparency and marine policy will be synthesized and future research areas articulated. The second is in a best practices document that outlines what considerations need to be taken onboard by scientists and practitioners in the quest for leveraging ocean transparency for the benefit of all Canadians. We will also be hosting an “Ethics in the Evening” with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Public Affairs (CCEPA).

Outcomes and benefits

This symposium and these knowledge mobilization efforts will benefit several groups. First, the output will help guide future academic research, and support current and future efforts by decision influencers (NGOs) and decision makers (government). Second, partnerships with participants will help build mutual trust, enable coordination of stakeholders, strengthen the capacity to conduct knowledge translation activities, find a common language to make information generated by ocean research accessible to a wide range of audiences, and improve the understanding/balancing of different end-user and researcher needs. This open and shared dialogue will also enable a collective effort to leverage information gains in ocean data with marine governance and equity gains across Canada.

For more information:

This symposium is led by Megan Bailey at Dalhousie’s Marine Affairs Program, in Association with the Ocean Tracking Network (Amy Ryan), Environmental Information Use and Influence group (EIUI, Suzuette Soomai), University of Ottawa (Nathan Young), King’s College (Ian Stewart and Gordon McOuat), and CCEPA (Chris Stover and Cathy Driscoll), with funding from SSHRC, Dalhousie’s Research Services and the Faculty of Science.

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