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Open Symposia

Symposia address critical or cutting-edge marine conservation topics proposed by a facilitator. Open special symposia talks will be 10 to 12 minutes with time reserved at the end for discussion. Presenters are required to submit an individual abstract for an oral presentation or a poster during the Call for Abstracts. All symposium organizers and presenters must register by the early registration, April 27, 2020. Further details on scheduling, specific times, dates, and locations of accepted symposia will be shared soon, so stay tuned for details!

Accepted IMCC6 Special Symposia (open):

Title: SSO-01 After the Press Release: Indigenous Guardians as Implementers, Stewards, and Enforcers

Organizer: Ms. Meaghan Calcari Campbell, Dr. Mary Turnipseed, Mr. Steve Ellis, Ms. Lara Hoshizaki 

National governments around the world are committing to - and achieving - extensive marine conservation targets and creating marine spatial plans. But after the press releases and podium events, what comes next? In coastal British Columbia and Canada’s Arctic, Indigenous Guardians are the eyes and ears on the water, ensuring the active stewardship of our most important marine places. These coastal stewardship programs monitor ecosystem trends while bridging Indigenous ways of knowing and western science, ensure compliance and enforcement of the laws and regulations of Indigenous and other levels of government, and implement the new marine plans and protected areas. Their work often happens in remote places where other governments’ monitoring and enforcement is minimal and where they are the most consistent eyes and ears on the water and sea ice, collecting data and enforcing protections in an era of rapid change and increased uses.
How do the Guardians (and Watchmen and Rangers) do what they do? How does it add up? What are they learning about structuring programming and networks of Indigenous Guardians and Watchmen, with the intent of sustaining their long-term stewardship and capacity?
Come hear from Guardians in the British Columbia Coastal Stewardship Network who are implementing individual First Nations’ marine plans and a joint Provincial-First Nations marine plan alongside Indigenous laws, as well as Guardians of the newly-established 108,000 square-kilometre Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area in the Canadian Arctic. The Indigenous Guardians’s traditional knowledge and ways of being on the land and waters can serve as a beacon for collective learning in our rapidly-changing environment.


Title: SSO-02 Assessing global kelp forest decline and management opportunities for restoring kelp ecosystems 

Organizer: Ms. Vienna Saccomanno, Ms. Norah Eddy, Ms. Mary Gleason, Mr. Walter Heady, Mr. Aaron Eger 

Nearly one-third of global kelp forests have declined significantly in recent decades. While the drivers of kelp forest loss are diverse and vary regionally, the result can be a shift to turf-dominated or grazer-dominated systems leading to substantial loss of kelp ecosystem services. Kelp ecosystems provide habitat and nursery grounds for important species, help locally ameliorate ocean acidification, and protect coastal communities from storm surge. Given their importance, global kelp forest restoration efforts are expanding rapidly. However, kelp restoration projects are largely uncoordinated and regional lessons learned are not always broadly communicated.
The purpose of this symposium is to bring the science and management community together to establish a better understanding of global patterns and drivers of kelp loss and recovery, as well as to facilitate coordination of restoration efforts. The goals of this symposium are to 1) take a deep dive into kelp status and declines, the drivers and dynamics of declines, and how each varies geographically and 2) explore management challenges and opportunities for restoring kelp ecosystems. Because kelp loss presents a conservation threat with broad impacts on global fisheries and coastal communities, there are innumerable benefits of bringing colleagues together, strengthening the state of the science by facilitating communication across borders, and connecting relevant marine science to cutting-edge management practices.


Title: SSO-03 Balancing fisheries and conservation objectives: Layering collaborative MPAs and traditional area-based systems of fishing tenure

Organizer: Mr. Daniel Steadman, Ms. Alexis Rife, Dr. Kendra Karr

In many highly biodiverse marine areas, it is recognized that increased communication and collaboration between the small-scale fisheries (SSF) sector and marine conservation actors will enable transparency for conservation and fisheries objectives. Marine fisheries tenure systems which provide rights to fishers have not routinely been part of the conservation toolbox. Similarly, the science behind collaboratively governed MPAs is not always readily available to fisher organisations, meaning the purpose of these MPAs can be misunderstood. This creates a challenging context in which conservation and SSF interests risk being misaligned, but there are a number of lessons and best practices to learn and share among these groups, thus ensuring that collaborative MPAs and SSF marine tenure systems are benefiting each other.
Fisher designed rights-based systems and collaborative MPAs are often considered as competing management systems, but they can work hand in hand to achieve multiple objectives. From the experiences of many marine conservation NGOs and increasing numbers of SSF actors, solutions are being implemented globally, with approaches including participatory MPA design, involvement of SSF actors in co-management actions, and Territorial Use Rights for Fisheries (TURF) reserves.
This workshop will focus on balancing fisheries and conservation objectives, and will draw on case studies and diverse lessons learned from projects around the world, as well as a structured group discussion to identify pathways that support conservation and SSF objectives. We will share examples from Cambodia, Costa Rica, Belize, the Philippines and others. We will also consider the role of the Voluntary SSF Guidelines as a framework for collaborative MPA and fisheries rights systems, and ask if any fishing practices can be considered incompatible with collaboratively managed marine areas. The symposium will be co-led by FFI and EDF, in addition to a to-be-identified SSF institution.


Title: SSO-04 Beyond talking – using social science to improve communication for MPAs

Organizer: Dr. Judy Mann, Dr. Kerry Sink

MPAs have an image problem – they are generally loved by people distant from the MPA and, in many cases, the closer to the MPA, the more resistance. So, despite the plethora of guides and tools to assist in the measurement and monitoring of the benefits and losses associated with MPAs, understanding the complex relationship between MPAs, MPA managers and stakeholders remains challenging. It is widely acknowledged that protected areas inevitably require changes in human behaviour for the achievement of conservation outcomes, therefore understanding the complex interplay between social impacts and their influence on attitudes, support and ultimately human behaviour remain an essential piece of the MPA puzzle. This symposium will bring together scientists to examine case studies from around the world. The focus will be on the use of social science to inform more effective communication about MPAs in order to build support and ultimately, better managed and more effective MPAs that benefit people and ecosystems. It is anticipated that the session will highlight critical issues around communication about MPAs, especially in developing nations. The goal is to identify critical gaps in our understanding of knowledge and attitudes about MPAs, and how these influence behaviour. The session will then highlight the type of research that can fill these gaps, with a focus on improving communication about MPAs to support management. The session will also share ideas for more effective communication that have already been implemented in different areas. During the session it is envisaged that a plan for future research to inform more effective MPA communication will emerge. This plan can then be used as a baseline for new initiatives in both research and communication.


Title: SSO-05 Casting a wider net for data: co-development of mutually-beneficial data collection methods for marine and coastal conservation

Organizer: Ms. Julia Luthringer, Ms. Lauren Mahle

Marine and coastal ecosystems face a number of challenges, including climate change, ocean acidification, and ecological degradation, among many others. Conservation managers often rely on incomplete or insufficient scientific data to manage marine and coastal ecosystems.
Coastal community practices, values, and economies are tied to ecosystem health; community members often hold key environmental knowledge about the spaces they live and work in. Expansion of data collection methods to involve academic research groups and coastal communities can better inform local decision-making that balances environmental and societal needs.
Diverse groups are working to identify local data gaps and co-develop specific data collection methods that are mutually beneficial for both science- and community-driven conservation. Co-created methods enable these groups to better understand and conserve species and ecosystems, alongside cultural values and practices.
We will convene a global cohort of researchers, community leaders, conservation managers, technologists, and others to share their process of building cooperative teams to co-develop methods and implement interventions that collect important cultural and ecological data. Specifically, symposium participants will:
* Briefly identify the data gap hindering decision-making for local conservation of socio-ecological systems;
* Explore the challenges and successes of co-developing methods, implementing plans for data collection, and evaluating the outcomes of the project; and
* Discuss the results of the project and identify lessons learned or next steps.
Expected outputs include a white paper that describes specific examples of projects that have developed methods and sourced critical data from research and community groups, and that identifies common challenges or opportunities for future prioritization of funding and resources.


Title: SSO-06 Conservation with Communities: Inclusive Governance Planning to Achieve Social and Environmental Objectives

Organizer: Dr. Gerald Singh, Dr. Ratana Chuenpagdee

Current interest in area-based conservation alongside coastal communities reflects both the recognition that past conservation activities have marginalized coastal people, and insights that working with communities can lead to better conservation outcomes. However, partly because of the neo-colonial legacy of conservation as well as the sometimes-diverging interests of conservation and local communities facing global change, conflict between conservation and communities persist. This symposium will explore the range of factors that contribute to successful or failed collaborations between conservation groups and local communities. Special focus will be on contrasting initiatives where conservation planning has been dictated “top-down” with conservation planning that has been organized “bottom-up,” and in both cases examine how they have led to either positive or negative consequences for conservation and community wellbeing.
This session will serve as a capstone event for an emerging working group interested in governance processes that promote effective ocean management to achieve both conservation and social goals. The Ocean Frontier Institute’s program “Informing Governance Responses in a Changing Ocean” organized the working group, and sees IMCC as ideal platform to increase its global scope and membership. From the lessons learned from the working group and the IMCC symposium, the organizers will lead a paper for submission to a peer-reviewed journal, with a focus on coastal planning under global change to simultaneously meeting conservation and social objectives.


Title: SSO-07 Current Conservation Issues in Global Sea Cucumber Fisheries and Aquaculture

Organizer: Dr. Heather Penney

Sea cucumbers are a very valuable resource, as they have one of the highest dollar values per kilogram for seafoods, and the Asian sea cucumber market is worth over 60 million USD annually. However, the increasing demand and the high market value for sea cucumber products has led to a decline of the natural stocks of traditional high-value species in Asia and the Indo-Pacific. As a consequence, new species have been introduced to the market and there are currently over 70 species harvested around the globe. Most sea cucumbers are harvested by divers or by dredge fishing boats, however current production through fishing cannot keep up with market demand. Unfortunately, overfishing has severely impacted many populations throughout the world. A recent global investigation of the status of sea cucumber fisheries revealed that 14% of stocks were fully-exploited, with no room for expansion, 38% were over-exploited and 20% were depleted or collapsed, consequently, some regions are now ranching or culturing sea cucumbers.
The goal of this symposium is to have sea cucumber experts and stakeholders meet and present on conservation issues in their region. Our purpose will be to discuss global sea cucumber fisheries and aquaculture, and to identify the most important issues for sustainable harvests and overall conservation. The anticipated outputs would include: establishing a network for sea cucumber conservation, and a group paper on global sea cucumber fisheries and aquaculture with directions for conservation.


Title: SSO-08 Effective marine and coastal conservation in Africa through demand-driven marine research, international partnerships and improved science-policy exchange

Organizer: Dr. Anke Schneider, PD Dr. Hauke Reuter, Prof. Anna-Katharina Hornidge, Dr. André Freiwald

Ocean health is deteriorating, putting at risk the many ecosystem services that the ocean provides to humanity. Demand-driven ocean science along with effective policies might hold the key for protecting the ocean and the transformation to sustainable use of the marine resources. In this context, GIZ facilitates the initiative “MeerWissen – African-German Partners for Ocean Knowledge” of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). MeerWissen supports research partnerships and aims at improving the conditions for knowledge- and science-based policy-making.
In this symposium, we seek to bring together scientific and non-scientific actors to learn from each other and discuss the research needs and challenges of ocean and coastal conservation in Africa to achieve SDG14 and the Agenda 2030. We invite actors involved in marine science and coastal conservation projects to share their experiences and successes at the science-policy interface. What are best practices and lessons learned? Fields of interest could for example be: Improved knowledge generation and uptake by policy; Successful engagement of policy-makers and other stakeholders; Better coordination and harmonization of existing programs and activities; Effective approaches for data storage, management and accessibility;
The Open Symposium aims at sharing experiences and expertise for improved knowledge generation and science-policy transfer in the field of marine and coastal conservation in Africa. We will:
• Gather best practice examples for effective conservation and sustainable use of African coastal resources
• Strengthen alliances between science and beyond and discuss innovative ways of cooperation to support implementation of ocean-related SDGs in Africa
• Promote international, regional, and national initiatives, transdisciplinary networks and research partnerships
 


Title: SSO-09 Enabling marine conservation through market-based-tools

Organizer: Mr. Gonzalo Araujo, Dr. Jackie Ziegler, Mr. Enamul Mazid Khan Siddique

Biodiversity conservation is moving from an ideological concept to an urgent monetary and survival need for communities around the world. Subsistence communities are tested daily on their capacity to sustainably use resources, whilst anthropogenic factors limit their ability to manage resources to achieve both conservation goals and socioeconomic benefits. Market-based-tools (MBTs) can help monetize sustainable resource use and achieve conservation outcomes simultaneously. Here, we propose a symposium centred on current MBTs being employed to enable marine conservation interventions that also include social conservation outcomes (e.g. increased awareness of marine-related issues and/or changes in behaviour to support conservation). The latter outcomes can be driven by MBTs, but not necessarily quantified in monetary terms. In a fast-changing conservation sector, the need to develop innovative MBT enterprises is imperative, particularly as many enterprises are already driven by market forces and can thus facilitate biodiversity conservation (e.g. tourist fees for marine protected area enforcement). The main goals of the symposium are to: 1. share current MBTs being employed or developed globally to facilitate marine conservation interventions; 2. discuss the suitability and scalability of some of these examples; and 3. identify opportunities for cross-cultural and multi-collaborative approaches in the sector. The main outputs of the symposium include a review journal article discussing the successes and challenges working with MBTs for marine conservation (Conservation Biology or Frontiers in Marine Science), and the creation of a network to facilitate future MBT development in new regions. The symposium leads will introduce the theme, followed by a brief introduction of the presenters in the session, and finishing with a facilitated discussion and next-steps following the presentations. We expect to host 6 talks in this Open Symposium, and priority will be given to presenters working in low and middle-income countries actively working with MBTs, although proof of concept pilots will also be prioritised.


Title: SSO-10 Estimating, protecting and enhancing the blue carbon potential of coastal oceans

Organizer: Prof. Thorsten Reusch, Dr. Angela Stevenson, Dr. Christine Bertram

Oceans are a major sink for excess anthropogenic carbon. It is now well established that coastal vegetated ecosystems, such as mangroves, seagrasses, and salt marshes, known as ‘coastal blue carbon’, have a disproportionally high potential to store carbon within the sediment relative to other coastal habitats. However, large error margins are found in their contributions to carbon sinks because estimates differ globally (i.e. tropical vs. temperate environments) and even regionally. Consequently, it is difficult to apply ecological economic approaches to provide accurate economic valuations of this important ecosystem service without introducing a large degree of uncertainty. On the other hand, blue carbon habitats are among the most vulnerable ecosystems globally as they continue to suffer from rapid rates of decimation. Along with curbing major anthropgenic stressors, the active restoration of coastal habitats has recently become a topic of major interest.  This session invites contributions that deal with quantifying the blue carbon ecosystem services, and introduce innovative approaches to restoring or enhancing the blue carbon potential of coastal oceans. Along with natural sciences and coastal ecology, our audience is diverse and includes ecological economic researchers, as well as environmental managers and other stakeholders interested in preserving the function of nearshore ecosystems.


Title: SSO-11 Evidence-based solutions for the management of large marine vertebrate species

Organizer: Dr. Mariana Fuentes, Dr. Camila Domit, Prof. Andrea Phillot, Dr. David Shiffman

Large marine vertebrate species (e.g., marine mammals, marine turtles, and elasmobranchs) face a multitude of threats and consequently have experienced substantial population declines in the last century. To successfully inform the management and protect these species, an array of approaches needs to be used to determine the scope of current and future threats and  apply the acquired knowledge to design holistic, flexible, participative and dynamic conservation approaches and strategies. The goal of this symposium is to highlight how  different approaches in marine science (e.g., biologging, stable isotope analysis, traditional and local ecological knowledge, expert elicitation, systematic conservation planning) and interdisciplinary research  can be applied to enhance the conservation of large marine vertebrate species in a changing environment. In particular, the symposium will showcase how evidence-based solutions and engagement with various stakeholders, policy makers, and practitioners can benefit and enhance the conservation of large marine vertebrate species. We anticipate that the symposium will provide :1) crucial information that addresses threats faced by large marine vertebrate species opening pathways for their conservation in view of a rapidly changing marine environment; 2) a platform for exchange of experiences and interdisciplinary dialogue among participants, identifying ways to incorporate evidence-based solutions and participatory processes for the conservation of marine species and/or marine habitats. The symposium will consist of six talks including an introductory description of the topic. Following the completion of the symposium, we plan to produce a report including extended abstracts of all papers presented, minutes taken during the ensuing discussion, and concluding remarks by the organizers. Further the material and presentations developed during the symposium will be used for a marine mega-fauna conservation and ecology undergraduate course being taught at Florida State University (USA), for Marine ecology, Conservation biology and Environmental impact assessment undergraduate and graduate course offered at Federal University of Paraná, and also conservation biology undergraduate course offered at FLAME University (India).


Title: SSO-12 Evolutionary physiology in the oceans – from mechanisms to population dynamics

Organizer: Ms. Emma Lockley, Ms. Leila Fouda, Dr. Christophe Eizaguirre

Climate change alters oceanic environments and threatens marine species. In order to efficiently conserve these species, we need population dynamic models that are parameterised by accurate descriptions of the effects of climate change on individuals’ physiology. Furthermore, we must consider the adaptive potential, whether genetic or plastic, associated with these mechanisms. In this symposium we will bring together research on evolutionary physiology and population dynamics across multiple marine systems, from plankton to megafauna. With an overarching goal of improving conservation approaches, a series of short talks followed by questions will cover topics including the evolution of physiological mechanisms regulating responses to environmental change, eco-evolutionary feedback loops and their effects on the way we make mathematical predictions.  Such interdisciplinary content will facilitate discussions on the different perspectives, challenges as well as solutions found for predicting the impacts of environmental change on species of high conservation importance.


Title: SSO-13 How can management effectiveness for marine protected areas (MPA) be assessed?

Organizer: Dr. Jochen Krause

The total area of designated marine protected areas (MPAs) is globally increasing. To date, for roughly 12.4 % of the EU seas are designated for protection. However, only 1.8 % of these designated areas have management plans and an even smaller proportion is expected to be under effective protection and monitoring. Given the fact, that by year 2020, 10 % of the global ocean should be under protection (Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi target 11 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14) the status for biodiversity protection is markedly concerning. Without effective management plans MPAs possibly miss their full potential to safeguard marine biodiversity. But when is management effective and how can effectiveness be measured? To tackle these questions, this session invites abstracts presenting ideas and possibilities on how to assess MPA effectiveness and welcomes practical examples and theoretical concepts on evaluation for cases from all regions of global oceans.


Title: SSO-14 Human Impacts and Stewardship in the Deep Ocean

Organizer: Dr. Diva Amon, Dr. Andrew Thaler, Mr. Angelo Villagomez

The deep sea is the largest ecosystem on the planet, covering approximately 60% of the Earth’s surface, most of which is unexplored and not yet understood. It harbours high biodiversity and provides services that are essential to the functioning of our planet. The deep sea also has a wealth of resources, including mineral deposits, fish and invertebrates as food sources, oil and gas, and novel biological compounds that, through technological developments, are increasingly being exploited. This combined with marine pollution, fishing, and climate change, as well as synergistic effects of these disturbances, are already having significant impacts in the highly-vulnerable deep ocean. As such, stewardship of deep-sea habitats and associated communities should be a priority. This includes gaining a better understanding of the deep sea worldwide, effectively managing deep-ocean resources, and mitigating potential impacts. While this is a challenge as the majority of these habitats are located on the high seas or in developing countries where the capacity and legal basis for intervention either do not exist or are nascent and under-equipped, the progress of several major multilateral negotiations, such as BBNJ, is heartening. Stakeholders such as the scientific community, industry, states, intergovernmental organisations, and NGOs must work together to make science matter and implement effective management and conservation actions for deep-sea ecosystems.
 


Title: SSO-15 Enhancing outcomes for ocean conservation through improved sharing, visualisation and use of information and knowledge

Organizer: Dr. Lucy Woodall, Dr. Gwilym Rowlands, Dr. Joanna Smith, Dr. Linwood Pendleton, Dr. Dawn Wright,
Dr. Melaine Brandmeier

Best-available information to support conservation outcomes, including national or international goals and targets for biodiversity, takes many diverse forms.  There is a range of knowledge, data, and information available and some of this can be difficult to obtain, capture and/or characterise. Effective compilation and use of a variety of information sits at the heart of participatory and transparent science-based decision making.  What can be done to improve the availability and display of information, and what has worked well, or could work better, to provide and communicate information during the decision making processes?
The main goal of the session is to share insights from programmes in which tools and/or methodologies have been designed to compile, interpret, and communicate information to governments and key stakeholders (e.g. marine sectors, civil society) on decisions related to ocean conservation. Examples could be taken from Marine Spatial Planning, habitat or species management, risk analysis or other applicable programmes that engage stakeholders in decision-making using a transparent and participatory process. The session will identify and discuss: 1) the common themes of success; 2) the characteristics of data and tools that underpin these successes; 3) how to engage stakeholders to characterise, share and visualise information not traditionally mapped; and 4) the process that can impede or accelerate access to those aspects detailed above.
The anticipated output would be a peer-reviewed publication and/or a policy brief to UN Decade of Ocean Science, summarising aspects of data collection, compilation, inventory, interpretation, visualisation and distribution that deliver success in conservation. The paper will draw on case studies, identified within the session’s presentations and discussion.
 


Title: SSO-16 Integrating human perceptions, natural and physical processes, governance narratives, and policy options: Optimizing conservation-based responses to climate change and other stressors?

Organizer: Dr. Ana Spalding, Dr. Emma McKinley

Changes in the marine environment associated with climate change (e.g. ocean acidification, changes in primary productivity, etc.) have been well described in the ecological and oceanographic literature. However, few studies assess whether and how these changes affect human communities. These studies might assess, for instance, community perceptions of current and future changes, adaptation strategies, community health and wellbeing, and associated needs (e.g., policy and/or management related). While the physical impacts of climate change may differ from perceptions of those impacts, scholarship suggests that perceptions (and associated needs) are related to the adaptive capacity held by both individuals and communities. Furthermore, the capacity to adapt is also influenced by relevant governance narratives and institutions, including management, regulatory structures, and policies. In the context of the emerging presence of the ocean on the global sustainability agenda, increasing threats from climate change, and the urgent need to better understand adaptive capacities, the goal of this symposium is to convene presenters that will highlight research that integrates (or presents the challenges of integrating) the social, natural, and policy perspectives for optimal conservation-based responses to climate change and other stressors. Governance narratives may include themes such as the blue economy, the ocean as a solution to climate change, SDG 14, etc.
An anticipated output of the session is the formation of a global network of “social science of climate change and oceans” scholars and practitioners, as a thematic sub-group within of the Marine Social Sciences Network, that will engage in studies on integrated approaches to sustainability and conservation.


Title: SSO-17 Leveraging Stakeholder passions: Using social science make marine conservation more effective

Organizer: Dr. Joshua Drew, Dr. Emma McKinley, Dr. Edward Hind-Ozan

Many, if not most, marine conservation opportunities incorporate the views of multiple stakeholders. Understanding the ways that those stakeholders implicitly and explicitly conceptualize those opportunities represents a challenge for those who hope to craft effective and efficient conservation solutions. However, recently there have been advancements in methods that allow researchers to explore, both quantitatively and qualitatively, stakeholders conceptualizations of the ecosystems within they work. In this symposium, we explore a variety of methods through which researchers can incorporate stakeholders’ views and preferences across a variety of conservation opportunities. We anticipate researchers covering marine systems from the tropics of Fiji to the shores of the UK and looking at topics as diverse as ecosystem services of salt marshes to the conservation prioritization of international NGOs.  We will be hosting a diverse group of speakers with the ultimate goal of producing a synthesis paper that explores commonalities and best practices in this exciting new aspect of marine conservation.


Title: SSO-18 Marine spatial planning for an environmentally sustainable and socially just blue economy

Organizer: Dr. Céline Jacob, Dr. Holly Niner

The blue economy is predicted to rapidly increase its contribution to the wealth of nations across the world. However, blue economy policies vary widely in their aspirations and how robustly environmental sustainability and social justice are incorporated into associated aims. Marine spatial planning (MSP) will be an important process to ensure that the aspirations for the blue economy can be realised. In this session, through examples from different countries across a range of settings including formal and informal approaches, we will explore current MSP practice to uncover how it can best support aims of equitable, just and environmentally sustainable development and the aspirations of the blue economy. Through these examples, we will discuss the barriers and opportunities that MSP presents for the equitable and sustainable use of marine areas and resources and marine conservation. In particular, through an examination of successes and failures of MSP to meet these aims, we will look to identify the essential conditions for the emergence of socially and environmentally sustainable outcomes. The examples presented will also consider at what point essential conditions are best leveraged within MSP processes. This session will end with a wider discussion to define the gaps and overlaps in research agendas, policy and practice such as topics, methodologies, participative and multi-disciplinary approaches required for MSP to meet the ambitious aims of the blue economy.  This analysis will assist in the development of an agenda to address the challenges and opportunities posed by the inclusion of environmental sustainability and social justice in developing and existing models of the blue economy.  


Title: SSO-19 Meeting climate objectives through coastal wetland conservation

Organizer: Dr. Stacy Baez, Dr. Maria Potouroglou

Mangroves, seagrasses, and tidal salt marshes are powerful coastal ecosystems, capable of storing carbon from the atmosphere for decades up to centuries. These areas also protect shorelines, reduce erosion, and attenuate waves, making conservation of these blue carbon ecosystems crucial for effective climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience. However, scientists estimate that 50 percent of the world’s mangroves have been destroyed during the last five decades, and the known area of seagrasses is declining worldwide, with extreme localized losses noted. Climate instruments such as the United Nations 2015 Paris Agreement create a significant opportunity to protect these habitats as countries pledge to reduce emissions and build resilience through national climate commitments known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). As NDCs are updated every five years, countries have the opportunity to include or improve coastal wetlands inclusions into future commitments. Several countries have included coastal wetlands in their previous NDCs, but many have not yet captured the climate values of these ecosystems due to several challenges. For example, carbon fluxes within dynamic coastal habitats can be difficult to measure and require significant expertise. At more baseline levels, countries often lack reliable data on the aerial extent of their coastal habitats, and where datasets exist, policy practitioners may lack access or the technical expertise to incorporate these data into the policy making process. This proposed session seeks to bring together scientists, regional policy makers, and conservation practitioners to share case studies of blue carbon projects at all stages, highlighting successes, challenges, lessons learned, and most importantly, building links among various practitioners to support coastal wetland conservation through the climate policy lens. The session will have 6-7 short talks followed by discussion. The anticipated outcome is a peer-reviewed paper addressing some of the challenges and practical solutions to building coastal wetland protections into climate policy.


Title: SSO-20 Moving Beyond Data Deficient in Global Conservation Efforts: Developing tools to improve conservation assessment and management of data-poor marine species

Organizer: Dr. Erin Ashe

Many countries use “best available science” in decision-making, but few mandate the necessary resources to identify when species warrant legal listing. The global biodiversity crisis requires us to devote conservation efforts and resources appropriately to protect those species at greatest risk of extinction. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recommends treating a data deficient (DD) determination as warranting the same degree of investment as at-risk categories, and as a motivation for research. In practice, species are at risk of precipitous decline or extinction through neglect, as they languish in a DD category in conservation assessments. Many studies find that additional study leads to data deficient species being re-categorized as threatened. We propose a symposium on approaches to revisit the conservation status of DD marine taxa through a series of four linked talks, followed by impactful discussion, and a call to action. The four oral presentations would cover: A taxonomic overview of the prevalence of data deficiency among several marine taxa. For example, approximately 16.5% of all species on the IUCN Red List are categorized as DD, but more than half of the 87 cetacean species are classified as DD. Quantitative, range-wide data on threats may be more accessible than other data types, but we need a robust framework to guide action. Prioritization and funding are inextricably linked to data deficiency. Many countries prioritize listed species for research funding. So DD species can become caught in a “data gap trap.” Portfolio investment tools could ensure strategic resource allocation. An exploration of potential statistical tools to conduct quantitative conservation assessments for data-poor species. This symposium will explore tractable ways to break the cycle of conservation reacting to crises, and find a proactive approach when quantitative data are lacking.


Title: SSO-21 Regional and global MPA networks - latest development towards 2020/2030 goals

Organizer: Prof. Henning von Nordheim, Dr. Janos Hennicke

The Aichi Target 11 of CBD calls for 10% of coastal and marine areas to be conserved by 2020 through effectively managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas.
IUCN sets an even more ambitious target and calls for “30% of each marine habitat” to be set aside in “highly protected MPAs and other effective area-based conservation measures” by 2030.
Regional Sea conventions such as OSPAR, HELCOM and BARCOM are working on the establishment of coherent and well managed networks of MPAs in their convention areas. The OSPAR Commission (North-East-Atlantic) has already designated 448 OSPAR MPAs including 10 OSPAR MPAs in the high seas (5.9% of the OSPAR maritime area). The Helsinki Commission has agreed on 176 HELCOM MPAs covering 12 % of the Baltic Sea. In those Contracting Parties to the conventions which are also EU Member States, most of the MPAs belong to the EU-Natura 2000 network as well.
Besides this good progress latest assessments show that both MPA networks are not yet ecologically coherent and have gaps in management and monitoring. Further, until now, there is no commonly agreed method for assessing management effectiveness available.
Globally, there exist meanwhile about 17.000 MPAs with various degrees of protection which cover some 7,63 % of the world’s oceans. Some of them are very large, but there is no commonly recognised network approach as in the case of the regional conventions.
So, a key initiative towards a global network of MPAs is conducted under the CBD with the world-wide description of marine areas of ecologically and biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs). CBD adopted already 321 EBSAs; if they were once established as MPAs this could make a substantial difference in global ocean biodiversity protection.


Title: SSO-22 Resilient Multispecies Fisheries

Organizer: Ms. Valerie Miller, Dr. Kendra Karr

Many of the world’s fisheries catch multiple species or stocks, either as directed catch or bycatch.  Catching multiple species that differ in productivity together with the same gear creates a risk that lower productivity stocks will be serial depleted, altering species interactions and entire ecosystems. While many single-species fisheries are becoming more sustainable thanks to science-based and rights-based management strategies, multispecies fisheries often face greater sustainability challenges, and these challenges will grow in the face of climate change. Multispecies fisheries may involve commercial, artisanal and recreational sectors and can be large, medium and small-scale, often spanning multiple landing sites. This complexity hinders monitoring and assessment to establish adaptive science-based management for resilient multispecies fisheries and puts at risk food sources, jobs, profits, and coastal community livelihoods and culture.
Worldwide, there is considerable interest in developing fishery management options that balance social, economic, and ecological objectives for multispecies fisheries. Creating an opportunity to exchange experiences related to managing multispecies fisheries in the face of climate change will increase knowledge. By bringing together scientists, academics and practitioners to share case studies, we can collaboratively identify lessons learned and present strategies for managing multispecies fisheries options that could be scaled-up around the world.


Title: SSO-23 Shark conservation in Europe: Current and Emerging Issues

Organizer: Dr. David Shiffman

Europe is home to some of the largest shark-fishing nations on Earth, including Spain, which is responsible for the 3rd-highest number of shark fisheries landings of any country. Both the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean are home to several Critically Endangered species of sharks and their relatives. In this symposium, scientists, managers, and practitioners will give IMCC attendees an update on the state of shark conservation in Europe, with a focus on important issues that haven't been getting much attention in the international press.


Title: SSO-24 The Story of How Eighteen Governments Came Together with Marine Spatial Plans that Achieve Stewardship, Social, and Economic Goals, and how the Nineteenth Government’s Plans are Intersecting

Organizer: Ms. Fiona Kilburn, Ms. Meaghan Calcari Campbell

Given the growing competition for ocean resources, the Province of British Columbia in Canada and 17 sovereign First Nations, or indigenous governments, are implementing marine spatial plans through the Marine Plan Partnership (MaPP). The 100,000-km2 area plans were built on thorough stakeholder engagement and world-class science. They have resulted in overarching management direction and a vast network of more than 200 protection and special management zones that aim to achieve a range of ecological, cultural, social and economic objectives. While these gains have been significant, there is only so much that the MaPP partners can do alone. In 2017, the Government of Canada and several of the MaPP partners completed the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (PNCIMA) plan. Implementation of the PNCIMA plan offers a new opportunity to advance shared priorities and to build on MaPP’s successes to date; this includes development of multi-lateral governance arrangements, marine protected area (MPA) network planning, monitoring and adaptive management, integrated economic opportunities, and tools to support implementation (e.g. risk assessment, cumulative effects managements). During this session, the planning partners will share the story of how this came to be and what comes next as MaPP implements its marine spatial plans and brings its work together with federal ocean management interests.


Title: SSO-25 Traditional knowledge and decision making for marine conservation: the case of Costa Rica's artisan fisheries

Organizer: Mr. Germán Ignacio Pochet, Ms. Vivienne Solís Rivera, Mr. Daniel Zango Bulgarelli

Although traditional knowledge has been recognized and is protected by several international agreements, it is not uncommon that the State, scholars, and other parties disagree with the incorporation of this element in the decision making process for marine conservation. The presentation aims to raise awareness on the usefulness of traditional knowledge when scientific data is scarce, and to acknowledge it as a valuable source of information in the elaboration of policies and when making decisions. For this objective, the conference discusses Costa Rica’s legislation on traditional knowledge, as well as the country’s experiences implementing it in regulations related to artisan fisheries. The presentation also features an explanation of some of the most recent analysis on traditional knowledge in Latin America’s legal theory. 


Title: SSO-26 What determines species sensitivity to a rapidly changing ocean? Identifying solutions for conservation and management

Organizer: Dr. Kirti Ramesh, PD. Dr. Frank Melzner, Dr. Sam Dupont

Ocean warming and acidification will elicit detrimental impacts at an organismal level. However, we are still lacking the keys to understand organism’s physiological limits to these global changes. Such information is the foundation for the identification of population, species and ecosystems the most at risk as well as potential resilient species and populations. In the framework of conservation, this understanding is critical to facilitate risk analyses, evaluate management options and develop adaptation strategies.
This session invites contributions that explore the role of genetic diversity, organismal physiology and behaviour in species sensitivity to global ocean changes. Themes of particular interest among others include:
• Assessment of adaptation potential in the face of global changes, assisted evolution, selective breeding towards resilience and the potential for restoration and management.
• Identification of particularly valuable ‘hotspots’ for genetic and physiological diversity, i.e. regions that harbour the widest range of tolerances to future global changes.
• Determination of the influence of environmental changes on phenology, ecosystem structure and estimation of the resulting consequences for resource management (e.g. fisheries).
This session aims to tie diverse biological disciplines together around a central premise of (i) understanding mechanisms of adaptation and phenotypic plasticity and (ii) identifying what environmental traits drive local adaptation. The session will highlight emerging research and rouse discussions that not only address descriptions of organismal responses but edge towards incorporating science into feasible conservation or management efforts (trait-based risk assessments, evidence-based designation of MPA’s, resource management, restoration strategies).