Evidence of meeting #63 for Fisheries and Oceans in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was mpas.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Isabelle Côté  Professor, Marine Ecology, Simon Fraser University, As an Individual
Callum Roberts  Professor, Marine Conservation, Environment Department, University of York, As an Individual
Boris Worm  Professor, Biology, Dalhousie University, As an Individual

10:15 a.m.

Prof. Callum Roberts

I think we have to speed up consultations. To give you an example, in the Firth of Clyde off the west coast of Scotland, the Community of Arran Seabed Trust is a local group of people who organize themselves to fight for enhanced protection of their local marine environment. It took them a decade of intensive lobbying to even get the government to really start listening, and it took another five years or so before the protected area was set up. As I mentioned, it's absolutely tiny. You can't carry on with that length of consultation.

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Thank you. I appreciate that.

Ms. Côté, do you believe we need to speed up our consultation process or should conservation take precedence over consultation?

10:15 a.m.

Prof. Isabelle Côté

It's Dr. Côté, thank you.

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Sorry, Dr. Côté.

10:15 a.m.

Prof. Isabelle Côté

If that stage is the longest element in establishment, then I think it should be sped up.

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Okay.

10:15 a.m.

Prof. Isabelle Côté

Right now, it's really too long.

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Dr. Côté, how do we balance the socio-economic impact on the communities that are adjacent to and dependent on the areas that will eventually be protected?

10:20 a.m.

Prof. Isabelle Côté

Fairly easily, I think. Right now, a lot of consultation goes on, and the location of MPAs and the level of protection that we afford in those MPAs are the results of compromise between the biological benefits of MPAs and the perceived socio-economic impacts, which are often perceived as being negative, at least in the first instance.

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Your comment earlier today was that we should absolutely go to 100% no take. Is that correct?

10:20 a.m.

Prof. Isabelle Côté

In a larger portion of our MPAs, definitely. We're still talking about a tiny fraction of the total area of our oceans.

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Okay, so how do we balance it? We have colleagues on the east cost who have families and communities that depend on fisheries for their livelihoods and the community economy. How do we balance that with MPAs that are going to 100% no take or fairly stringent rules on this?

10:20 a.m.

Prof. Isabelle Côté

We have to see the extent to which the displacement of people from the small areas that are no take in the ocean actually results in economic hardship for people.

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

That would have to be through consultation, to see the benefit or the impact. Is that correct?

10:20 a.m.

Prof. Isabelle Côté

I don't think it's a matter of consultation as much as of research to establish whether there are real costs to closing small portions of the ocean.

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Okay.

10:20 a.m.

Prof. Isabelle Côté

We do know—

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Sorry, I have only a very short period of time.

My next question would be that a lot of our science comes from what we can tell of the impact, I guess, of our fisheries management that would come from the harvesting of the fisheries and the stocks around there. Is that correct?

10:20 a.m.

Prof. Isabelle Côté

Yes.

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

We have areas that are 100% no take. How do we evaluate the impact of the MPAs or the protective areas that we're putting forth?

10:20 a.m.

Prof. Isabelle Côté

How do we evaluate their impact? By that, do you mean their success or their effectiveness at rebuilding populations or...?

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Correct.

10:20 a.m.

Prof. Isabelle Côté

That's the kind of comparison that's been done over and over again since we've been monitoring and surveying inside and outside, before and after. Over and over again we show that no-take areas very quickly rebuild populations, if given enough time, to reach a spillover of this biomass into areas that can then be fished.

I'm not arguing that there is never an economic, an immediate, possibly small economic loss to closing an area, but if given enough time, those losses are more than recouped by the spillover.

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Thank you, Dr. Côté.

We have Mr. Hardie for five minutes, please.

May 18th, 2017 / 10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thanks to everybody for being online off and on this morning.

Dr. Roberts, you would characterize, I guess, charitably your experience in the U.K. as being somewhat mixed when it comes to MPAs.

I wanted to follow on my colleague Mr. Doherty's comments about the social and community impacts of all of a sudden setting aside large tracts of the ocean as no-take zones, which, of course, are ideal in terms of recovery of stocks. Are you aware of any place in the world where they've really done a good job of achieving a balance, some place that we can look to and say, all right, this represents a decent model going forward as we look at the possible dislocation that MPAs can cause?