Thank you very much for the invitation to speak.
As for my background, I commercial-fished for 25 years. Commercial fishing paid my way through university, where I studied physics and mathematics. I'm not a fishery scientist or ecologist by background, but through the commercial fishery I got involved in conservation. For the last 25 years I've been involved in conservation. You might ask why. It's because as a commercial fisherman, I think it is really important to conserve so that we can use our marine resources—not lock them off from future generations, for nobody to touch forever, but for use.
I chair a commercial fishing caucus on the west coast. There are 13 different organizations that are part of it. It's open to independent commercial fishermen and fishing organizations to participate in marine planning. We've been involved in marine planning on the west coast on a number of different fronts—the PNCIMA process, the integrated planning process, the west coast of Vancouver Island governance board, and several MPA processes, including the glass-sponge reefs, the Scott Islands, the Gwaii Haanas, the NMCA at the bottom end of Haida Gwaii, the Bowie Seamount, and a couple of other ones.
I've been involved in a number of the issues associated with this. Here's what I want to cover today. I want to talk about the value of biodiversity and the value of our oceans, ocean issues globally, best ocean management, the definition of MPAs, differing MPAs, differing objectives between MPAs and fisheries, and lines on the map.
First, the ocean is what makes this planet. It is the most important feature on this planet. The average temperature of our ocean is 3.5°C. The average depth is 4,000 metres. It provides half of our oxygen and 25% of our protein on this planet. It is essential for life on this planet. Protecting our ocean is a priority, obviously.
We have a number of different issues facing the ocean. Christina mentioned a few of them. These include climate change, pollution, the amount of plastics going in there, the IUU fishing, and the oil and gas and energy sector. We're facing a number of different issues competing for space in the ocean.
How best do we manage the ocean? Beth Fulton, one of the top modellers on the planet, gave a presentation a couple of years ago when I was in Australia. She identified the main ways for managing the ocean. You can do nothing; you can manage by single sector; you can manage in time and space in that single sector; you can add other dimensions, economic and social, in that single sector; or you can do integrated management.
The best way to manage our oceans, given the global drivers on our planet, is integrated management. That's what the Oceans Act attempts to do, attempts to line up for Canada. We've attempted doing that in a number of different spaces in Canada. We had Canada's oceans strategy in 2005, which tried to focus on five different areas, PNCIMA being the one on the west coast. The fishing industry bought wholeheartedly into PNCIMA to try to do integrated management on the marine space in the west coast.
We have the Royal Society of Canada's review on biodiversity. It identifies four key things for sustaining marine biodiversity. The first one is ecosystem-based management. That is exactly what PNCIMA attempted to do on the west coast—to define ecosystem-based management and implement it in that region. This PNCIMA plan has sat on the shelf for three, four years now. It was just approved, but there are no resources, nothing behind it. That is what Canada should be doing on its oceans.
This next graphic shows the value of fisheries on the Pacific. The dark areas are the most valuable per hectare on the Pacific. This is taken over a 15-year period, 1996 to 2010. If I broke this down and showed you this across every year, these areas would change. If I showed you this across different fisheries, these would change by fishery every year. They change by year, but you can do this, and you can average it out and everything like this. It shows you some of the hot spots.
The red areas identify the key areas right now where we have marine protected areas, or the Scott Islands, in this case. It's just gone through the Gazette, part I. Those areas are important for fisheries, and we're going to add way more space. If you look at the value, you see this is just looking at the economic value of fisheries. Fisheries bring way more values to communities on our coast. This graphic comes from a study from two years ago identifying the tangible and intangible values that fisheries bring to communities. When you just measure the economics of fisheries, you're missing all these other values that aren't counted, which fisheries bring to communities. These are important for our coastal communities.
This study, which was done in 2012, identifies the differing objectives between MPAs and fisheries management. MPAs and fisheries management have a bunch of similar objectives. About 70% of objectives for MPAs are very similar to fisheries management objectives. They differ in about 30% of objectives.
The main objective for fisheries management is food security. It's an imperative for this planet that we use our oceans to provide food. By locking off marine areas to that, we're endangering that.
This report identifies two main international definitions of MPAs. One is from the FAO. The FAO defines an MPA as “any marine geographical area that is afforded greater protection than the surrounding waters for biodiversity conservation or fisheries management purposes”. We have hundreds and hundreds of MPAs on the Pacific that qualify under the FAO definition. The 184 MPAs, the rockfish conservation areas on the west coast, qualify as MPAs under FAO. We've had them for 15 years. We have way more in place in the Pacific that are FAO-defined MPAs. They don't qualify as IUCN MPAs. They do not have the required legal framework for IUCN, but we have them locked off for all different kinds of fisheries in space and in time, on the west coast. This is a huge challenge for fisheries going forward, with all of those not counting.
This is a workshop we were involved with. We worked with the ENGOs on the west coast to find some common ground between fisheries and MPAs. We identified that the two diverging interests are science knowledge fields. We invited international fisheries scientists and ecologists to come together and discuss MPAs and fisheries.
These are our takeaway messages from this. It was identified that MPAs aren't going to solve the major problems facing our oceans. MPAs are only one tool in the tool box. When you have well-managed fisheries, exactly as Christina has said, MPAs will reduce the yield, so you have to reduce your TAC in the outside area if you're going to continue to manage the fisheries with MPAs that are closed. Any kind of benefit you're going to get from MPAs to fisheries is going to take 20 years plus.
These were international scientists who came to these conclusions at this forum. The Seeking Convergence document is available if you want to go through it.
Another finding there is that you need good process to get good results. We've just gone through two processes, the one with the Hecate, and now the one with the Scott Islands, where you're getting this last-minute button-pushing to impact the collaborative agreements that were moved forward there.
If that's how we're going to do it, then we're going to get that as well. We're going to be doing the same thing. Forget about the collaboration. What I hear from the minister and the government is that they want to collaborate. If you're going to make decisions other than that, then we're going to take different ways to go forward with this.
This is a great book, A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. In here he talks about the park service and he talks about the boundaries and giving an area to the park service. This is terrestrial. Putting a line around an area doesn't mean you're going to protect biodiversity. All different kinds of things impact biodiversity. For example, in the park services in the United States, 42 species have gone extinct inside the boundaries. You don't protect biodiversity just by putting lines on maps.
Essentially 60% of our EEZ is in the Arctic and is essentially a de facto MPA. That doesn't protect the biodiversity in the Arctic. What protects the biodiversity in the Arctic is what we do on the rest of the planet. In the 1970s, when we were looking for a reference site for pollutants, we went to the Arctic and we put up all different kinds of monitoring there. We found that the Arctic was one of the most contaminated places on the planet, and we have virtually nothing there. So why is that? It is because of the coupled system. The atmosphere is coupled with the marine, with the ocean, and it's driving pollutants there. We have to be more cognizant instead of just drawing lines on a map if we want to protect biodiversity.
Governance and leadership are key. These are my takeaway messages. The collaborative process will lead to durable results. If you don't want to have durable results, do what you're doing with Hecate. You have to build a collaborative rationale for protection so we're all on the same page and we all understand why we're adding extra protection.
We need to engage stakeholders from the start, not bring stakeholders along at the end. We have to set outcome objectives, and the process should fit the objectives. We should build tools to fit the process and get the place and the scale right for that.
Right now on the west coast we have 10 or 12 different MPA processes. It's impossible for the fishing industry to engage in all of these in a kind of comprehensive way. We need a place where we can sit down and set some of these overarching objectives. If we don't do that, it's just going to disintegrate into a mess. It won't be durable going on. We need a way to bring all available knowledge into these.
This is what was passed last year, the global targets from IUCN calling for 30% protection by 2030 in highly protected MPAs and other affected areas. If that's what we're going to do in Canada by 2030, the fishing industry is going to be a fraction of what it is today. I would say that right now we are hugely under-fishing our marine space. There are places right now on the west coast where we have a 10-tonne target for shrimp, and we've taken a million pounds out in one year, with four guys or five guys fishing that. We're not doing that now.
Under the terms of union between Canada and British Columbia, Canada would take on protecting and encouraging fisheries in British Columbia. I don't see that happening here.
That's me done. Thank you.