The Start is Listening and Learning

Oct. 14, 2012

The question: How do you come up with an idea to work on a marine conservation research initiative that advances marine governance, management and conservation in Canada to better meet the dual goals of ecological sustainability and social justice?

The answer: You talk to people, and you listen to what they have to say.

In the summer and fall of 2012, Anne toured around asking Indigenous leaders and stewardship directors, marine researchers, government and NGO managers and planners in British Columbia (B.C.) what THEY thought are the most pressing marine conservation challenges and opportunities facing our coasts. Common concerns centered on changes in the abundance and access to rockfish, herring, abalone, crabs, sea urchin, clams and kelp and how that influences coastal community livelihoods, foods and cultures.

Common solutions offered include increasing local decision-making, marine planning and the integration of western and traditional knowledge.

Anne mulled over what brought these various issues together, and worked on developing a collaborative research idea that could have positive conservation and social outcomes in B.C., and Canada more broadly. Now it just needs some funding to get off the ground!