Data Management Strategies for Marine Planning on Canada’s Pacific Coast

The Marine Planning Partnership is a regional planning and monitoring collaboration between 17 First Nations and the Government of British Columbia. ESSA is working closely with the partners to develop a sustainable strategy to ensure data and information integrity and security.

Project Details

North and Central Coasts of British Columbia, Canada; 52.285038, -129.763662
Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast (MaPP)
2017 – Ongoing
Team Member(s):
Tim Webb, Erica Olson, Patricia de la Cueva Bueno
Practice Area(s):
Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences
Services Employed:
Facilitation & Stakeholder Engagement, GIS Analysis & Information Systems

The Problem We Aimed to Solve

The Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast (MaPP) is a collaboration between 17 First Nations and the Government of the Province of British Columbia to develop and implement plans for marine uses on B.C.’s North Pacific Coast. Sub-regional marine plans and a Regional Action Framework have been developed and MaPP is now in the implementation stage. Data will be gathered and information created from a variety of initiatives, including ones related to cumulative effects, marine response, compliance and enforcement, and regional and sub-regional ecosystem-based management indicator reporting. MaPP has taken a collaborative approach to leverage existing data collection efforts.

This approach presents unique challenges for data and information management. There is a wide variety in the types of data gathered (e.g., qualitative and quantitative, and spatial and non-spatial) and the breadth of the collaboration (e.g., governmental, non-governmental, and academic organizations), the sensitivity of some of the information gathered, and the lack of a single institutional home means that great care must be taken to develop a practical and sustainable data and information management strategy. To gain acceptance this strategy must be trusted by all participants and ensure data integrity and security. The lack of a single institutional home with long-term funding means that the strategy must be resilient to periods with lower funding levels and have relatively low fixed annual costs. The biggest challenges in this work are organizational and institutional rather than technical.

How We Helped & Our Project’s Impacts

Working closely with The Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast (MaPP) partners and collaborators through an extensive series of interviews and discussions, ESSA has produced a framework for categorizing different types of information and a set of data principles to guide the development of the strategy. Based on this, ESSA is generating a set of practical high level options that build on existing tools, systems, and institutions, as well as developing recommendations for how MaPP can move forward with data and information management.