IAB3: Arctic marine protected areas: identification, effectiveness, co-management and cooperation

Date: Wednesday October 10, 2018

Location: Tieva, Lappia Hall

Time: 15:15-17:15

This session will explore different approaches to identifying and managing priority areas for protection in the Arctic marine environment. It will share recent work by the Arctic Council and others related to marine protected area networks and protection of Arctic biodiversity, present examples of innovative examples at the pan-Arctic and national scale to identify, understand and manage important conservation areas and the human benefits they provide and engage with experts at the session to identify priorities for future work by the Arctic Council and its partners to advance and accelerate progress to conserve Arctic marine biodiversity.

Chair: Tom Barry, CAFF Secretariat

Format: Series of presentations followed by discussion

PART 1 Identifying Important Places

  • A pan-Arctic network of Marine Protected Areas: Irina Onufrenya, WWF Russia 
  • Arctic Council work to support a pan-Arctic MPA network (background on PAME & CAFF work): Tom Barry, CAFF International Secretariat pdf
  • Arctic Protected Planet Report: Placing the Arctic in a global context: Neville Ash, UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre pdf

20 minute question and answer

PART 2 Managing MPAs and MPA Networks

  • Systematic approach to identification and conservation of priority areas in the Russian Arctic Seas: Boris Solovyev, Institute of Ecology and Evolution of Russian Academy of Sciences pdf
  • Indigenous management of MPAs in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region: Kayla Hansen-Craik, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation - Inuvialuit Joint Secretariat pdf
  • Assessing sensitivity of marine and coastal areas to ocean uses in Greenland: Tom Christensen, Arctic Research Center, Aarhus University pdf

20 minute Q+A                      

Facilitated discussion with speakers and audience: Lisa Speer, Natural Resources Defense Council


Arctic Protected Planet Report: Placing the Arctic in a global context

Fiona Danks, UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre

The Protected Planet Report series helps track international progress towards achieving global biodiversity targets, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Aichi Biodiversity Targets (notably Target 11) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and allow for discussion of key issues relating to protected areas and biodiversity. This report will set the Arctic region’s biodiversity and protected areas in a relevant global context and builds upon ongoing collaboration between Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) and UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). The report is being developed as an online publication, with the first phase to be presented at the Arctic Biodiversity Congress (ABC) in October 2018. The report will include both static and interactive graphics, based on data that will be updated and supplemented as further components and future phases are developed (see example of Marine Protected Planet https://www.protectedplanet.net/marine). Relevant case studies are an additional component. In the first phase, the focus is on some of the most relevant issues for the region: updating and assessing characteristics and representation of Arctic terrestrial and marine protected area data; threats and pressures to protected areas in the Arctic such as resource extraction, infrastructure and transportation (shipping and land routes), and pollution, with a potential focus on plastics; and scenarios of climate change and protected areas. The work is being driven by CAFF and UNEP-WCMC in collaboration with other Arctic partners. Development of an Arctic Protected Planet report, through its mainstreaming and wide reach due to a) being part of an established, respected series, b) consideration of global biodiversity goals, and c) being published online will increase the visibility of Arctic biodiversity in the global sphere, and raise the CAFF/Arctic Council profile, further establishing its work in Arctic biodiversity research and policy as relevant, reliable and authoritative. This report addresses elements of the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment recommendations and implementation actions through improving knowledge and public awareness of key biodiversity issues and through showcasing of efforts to identify and protect important biodiversity areas by advancing the protection, coverage, status and representatively of ecologically important marine, terrestrial and freshwater habitats.


A pan-Arctic network of Marine Protected Areas

Irina Onufrenya, WWF Russia

The necessity of taking an ecosystem-based approach to management is one of the key findings of Arctic Biodiversity Assessment. Russian authorities are considering a legal framework for implementing this approach in the Russian Arctic seas and in the Barents Sea in particular. The south-eastern part of the Barents Sea – the Pechora Sea is a biodiversity hotspot and the only place of an ongoing oil extraction from the Russian Arctic shelf. There are plans for future economic development of the region. The process of identification of the highest biological value areas with the aim of minimization of potential conflicts between economic activities and conservation needs has started as the first step on the way towards ecosystem based management plan development for the Pechora Sea. The process is based on Systematic Conservation Planning approach (Margules & Pressey, 2000) in the way it was applied in the Russian Arctic Seas recently (Solovyev et al., 2017). The entire sea is divided into approximately 6000 planning units; integral biological value along with the specific biological characteristics and conservation needs has been identified for each of the units. Expert-advised analyses using decision support tool Marxan and the best available data allowed to produce maps which will inform the ecosystem based management plan for the Pechora Sea. The process has also allowed to identify the needs in the future research and data collection for the region; and the needs in better collaboration and coordination between stakeholders collecting data.


Systematic approach to identification and conservation of priority areas in the Russian Arctic Seas

Boris Solovyev, Institute of Ecology and Evolution of Russian Academy of Sciences

The Arctic biodiversity and habitats are being degraded as demonstrated by the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (2013). The region is among the ones experiencing the most significant effects of climate change. There are growing human activities in the Russian Arctic even it’s still one of the most pristine areas of the World Ocean. To design an ecologically connected and representative network of conservation areas is the most effective way to protect the biological diversity and ecological processes of the marine environment. A key step on the way to it is to identify conservation priority areas. To achieve this step a study based on a systematic conservation planning approach (Margules & Pressey, 2000) and in the frame of the Arctic Council’s PAME Framework for a Pan-Arctic Network of Marine Protected Areas (2015) was conducted by a group of experts under WWF Russia and Russian Academy of Sciences guidance. Marxan algorithm was used to produce initial results, then discussed and refined to select 47 conservation priority areas in the Russian Arctic seas. Resulting network covers almost 25% of the Russian Arctic seas and guarantees proportional representation of their biodiversity as well as achieving connectivity, sustainability and naturalness. There is a continuing research on the impact of climate change in these areas and on the resilience they are able to demonstrate. Conservation Priority Areas identified during the analysis will be included in the Federal List of Prospective Protected Areas (2020-2030); and some of them are already being implemented (Novosibirskie Islands, Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago). The approach caused a series of regional studies intended to provide detailed plans for the new MPAs establishment and integration of systematic conservation planning in Marine Spatial Planning in the Pechora Sea.


Assessing sensitivity of marine and coastal areas to ocean uses in Greenland

Tom Christensen, Arctic Research Center, Aarhus University

A recent published report from Aarhus University provides an overview of important areas for ecosystems and species in Greenland. Abundance, occurrence, migration routes etc. for more than 100 species and/ or ecosystem components were mapped focusing on the spatial distribution of important biological areas. The map layers were combined to identify the most biologically important areas according to a set of criteria informed by national priorities and international processes such as the Convention on Biological Diversity to identify Ecologically and Biological Sensitive Areas (EBSAs) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to identify Particular Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSA). The spatial analysis has further been used to identify biologically important areas in finer scales in the North Water and Disco Bay/ Store Hellefiskebanke areas. In relation to Disko Bay / Store Hellefiskebanke, each of the biological layers where further assessed and ranked according to their specific sensitivity to potential environmental effects caused by shipping, to identify where there may be a need for heightened awareness in relation to impacts from the shipping sector.


Innovative approach to public outreach in support of the conservation and promotion of ecologically important areas in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait, Canada

Elizabeth Hiltz, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

In 2010, under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, Canada agreed to protect 10% of its coastal and marine areas by 2020 through marine protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures. Canada’s commitment has led to significant momentum in area-based protections, including area-based fishery closures. In 2017, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, in collaboration with stakeholders including co-management boards, the fishing industry and environmental organizations, established three closures in Canada’s Eastern Arctic where commercial fishing using bottom contact gear was prohibited. These management measures protect 52,272 km2 of ecologically important marine areas identified through scientific assessments in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait. In particular, high concentrations of vulnerable species of corals and sponges are protected. Narwhals, sperm whales, northern bottlenose whales, and benthic fish and invertebrate species that use these areas also receive conservation benefits. Closure boundaries were developed through a unique, collaborative process which will be described along with conditions for success and opportunities for improvement. Existing partnerships between stakeholders were strengthened during the above process and led to an innovative public outreach project promoting the importance of these areas and sustainable fishing practices. Inhabitants of Baffin Island, Nunavut are generally unaware of the existence of corals and sponges in the Arctic waters off their coast. To improve awareness throughout Nunavut and adjacent communities of the Arctic marine ecosystem (including the role of corals and sponges) and protection efforts, a music video was created which involved youth, musicians, and actors from Iqaluit, Nunavut. The music video incorporated two culturally important mediums - conversation and storytelling. It started with a special science class given to elementary school children where they learned about the deep Arctic ecosystem via a food web game and other activities. Shortly thereafter, interviews with the children were conducted by a musician and actor where the artists learned about the students’ understanding of corals, sponges, and the Arctic marine food web. Song lyrics were created based on what the musician heard. The music video, consisting of interview clips as well as the song itself, demonstrates a creative approach, based on traditional knowledge transfer systems, to communicating information on Arctic biodiversity and sustainable fishing practices. It also demonstrates a unique collaboration between government, industry and environmental organizations to promote conservation initiatives. This presentation will include the music video, outline the steps taken in its development, and discuss successes and lessons learned by those involved.

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