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Closed Symposia

Symposia address critical or cutting-edge marine conservation topics proposed by a facilitator. Closed special symposia talks will be 10 to 12 minutes with time reserved at the end for discussion. Presenters will be required to submit an individual abstract for an oral presentation or poster during the Call for Abstracts. Abstracts submitted to closed special symposia must be accompanied by the session code provided by the symposium organizer. 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 (closed):

Title: SSC-01 Challenges for marine indigenous tenures around the world and their global contribution to conservation.

Organizer: Dr. Jeremy Anbleyth-Evans, Ms. Ratana Chuenpagdee

Across the world, different indigenous communities and stateless nations are contributing to marine conservation through different forms of tenures systems or customary rights. The session aims to bring together papers and speakers to review the challenges and conflicts they face, where they are, their different varieties, the extent they are empowered or under threat, and the marine species and small-scale fisheries involved. While in some areas, marine indigenous tenures are developing forms of conservation planning to conserve the environment, others are searching for recognition of their traditional customary systems. Others are struggling to limit developments from ports, energy, industrial fishing and even top down forms of exclusive conservation zoning. This session will support how this is being developed in different regions, and how it can be better linked strategically.
Global imperialist history around the world has led to stateless nations, or indigenous / original people. This has begun to be addressed, however, while there are 200 nation states recognised, there are at least 2000 marine indigenous communities with different types of marine rights, and another 5000 with strictly terrestrial concerns.
By better acknowledging their contribution to conservation, there is an opportunity in this process of empowerment for continued feedback between researchers and fishers to support bio-cultural diversity. Greater recognition of this network of marine indigenous conservation areas can allow for greater support and resources to monitor marine ecological health, habitats and species and understand its spatial contribution. The session aims to foster better understanding about their rights and ownership, which need to be respected in marine governance and conservation planning.

Title: SSC-02 Fish food systems: Understanding seafood’s role in hunger, nutrition, and marine conservation planning

Organizer: Ms. Sonia Sharan, Ms. Tess Geers, Dr. Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted

More than three billion people around the world consume fish as a substantial portion of their animal protein intake, and fish, a valuable source of fatty acids and micronutrients, represents approximately 17 percent of the world’s animal protein consumption. Fish are a critical component of the global food security discussion, yet fish as food is often deprioritized in mainstream food security and marine conservation platforms. Recent papers, including the EAT-Lancet Commission Report on Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems and papers by Christina Hicks, Elizabeth Selig, Christopher Golden, and others are converging to make the point that fish is crucial to food and nutrition security.
The global community is falling short of meeting the SDGs on no poverty, zero hunger, and good health and well-being, as well as life below water – SDGs that are inextricably linked in many coastal nations. For countries most dependent on fish to meet the nutritional requirements of their population, wild capture fisheries remain the dominant supplier (Hall et al. 2013). Golden et al. 2016 projects more than 10 percent of the global population could face micronutrient and fatty-acid deficiencies driven by fish declines over the coming decades. Hicks et al. 2019 shows that retaining a fraction of exported fish in vulnerable coastal communities could address that gap.
This symposium will bring together researchers and practitioners in the fields of food and nutrition security, fisheries management, and marine conservation to discuss challenges, solutions and case studies where these issues converge. This consideration of the essential role of seafood in both food and marine conservation policy is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss.

Title: SSC-03 Increasing transparency and clarity in tracking Marine Protected Areas: Introducing The MPA Guide

Organizer: Prof. Kirsten Grorud-Colvert, Dr. Jenna Sullivan-Stack

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a useful and widely used tool for biodiversity conservation and its ecological and social outcomes. However, the term ‘MPA’ covers a broad range of protection types. Although different types of protection reflect differing goals and priorities, this creates confusion about how much protection exists and what outcomes can be expected from particular MPAs. This confusion is a serious obstacle to achieving the overarching goal of a healthy, productive, and resilient ocean.

This session gathers a diverse group of MPA experts to discuss the challenges and opportunities in accurately tracking global MPA progress and assessing effective ocean protection, highlighting what is needed in 2020 and beyond. The speakers bring MPA expertise spanning a range of geographies and perspectives from management, academia, nonprofit, and governmental organizations. Their experiences reinforce the fact that creating meaningful ocean protection is a global endeavor, one which requires consistency, clarity, and transparency among communities, nations, and reporting bodies.
A specific goal of this session is to introduce participants to The MPA Guide, a new framework developed in collaboration with hundreds of marine experts and stakeholders around the world. It refines existing language and captures a shared vision to describe MPAs and their outcomes. It is a timely tool to help support better ocean protection, reflecting a collective goal to find unity in language and consistency in approach.
The MPA Guide requires refinement and broad ownership to be effective. We anticipate outcomes of this session to include (1) an opportunity to refine The MPA Guide through the incorporation of diverse perspectives from participants, who can share their own MPA experiences; and (2) increased effectiveness of The MPA Guide as a reporting mechanism, as more users are introduced to the tool. Our technical requirements are the ability to project powerpoint slides.

Title: SSC-04 Key Considerations for the Restoration of Living Marine Habitats: Perspectives from China, Indonesia, and Japan

Organizer: Ms. Polita Glynn, Mr. Nathan Fedrizzi

Large-scale restoration is underway around the world for a range of marine foundation species, including corals, seagrasses, mangroves, macroalgae, and shellfishes. These efforts are driven by a wide variety of overall goals, which are shaped by unique community needs, resource contexts, and stakeholders. This session will bring together restoration experts from around the world to provide perspectives on ongoing efforts globally, and to highlight shared obstacles in feasibility, scalability, and long-term management across different taxa and geographies. Speakers will discuss options for balancing potentially conflicting goals, including ecosystem functioning, genetic diversity, food production, coastal protection, resilience, and biodiversity. Participants will also identify the enabling conditions that can allow restoration projects to succeed in rapidly changing marine environments.
This session will increase understanding of the factors that enable successful restoration work across different taxa and national contexts including, China, Indonesia, and Japan. The session will also provide the foundation for new research collaborations and a restoration-focused perspectives paper, which will be fostered through ongoing Pew fellows program engagement.

Title: SSC-05 MarSocSci: Developments, expansion and the future of marine social science

Organizer: Dr. Rachel Kelly, Dr. Mary Mackay, Dr. Emma McKinley, Dr. Chris Cvitanovic

Increasing recognition of the human dimensions of climate change, marine pollution, exploitation and other threats to the marine environment has resulted in an expansion of marine social science research in recent years. The importance of understanding the complexities of societal relationships with our global ocean, seas and coasts, and how this might influence sustainable management and effective governance, will be crucial as we strive to address the challenges facing our oceans. Encompassing a wide range of research disciplines, marine social sciences are those areas of research which seek to examine, investigate and understand human relationships with the sea and coast. This includes traditional social science disciplines such as psychology, sociology and anthropology, for example, but also involves research on economics, governance processes, industry and blue growth, culture and heritage, health and wellbeing and, increasingly, arts and humanities. Our snapshot of innovative and exciting developments in the marine social sciences will bring together multiple components and examples that are contributing to ‘make marine science matter’ and seeking to deliver effective marine management globally. We hope to provoke interesting and inspiring discussion with our colleagues at IMCC6 by:
• Hosting a panel that specifically celebrates recent developments in marine social sciences;
• Presenting case-studies that highlight successes and challenges for marine social science research globally, considering the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030; and
• Outlining prospective thinking for effective and relevant marine social science research and practice into the future.

Title: SSC-06 Measuring Effective Marine Protection to Ensure Biodiversity Conservation 

Organizer: Ms. Elizabeth Pike, Dr. Joachim Claudet

With the increasing push towards meeting and exceeding international marine protection goals, a new frame is emerging that focuses not only on the amount of area protected, but the degree to which these areas are effectively protected. Thousands of self-reported marine protected areas (MPAs) are tracked in the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) representing a broad range of protection levels based on design, management, regulations, resources and compliance. Several programs define best practices for effective marine protection and recognize MPAs that successfully apply them. The collaborative MPA Guide project defines different protection levels and stages of establishment to improve reporting by MPA practitioners and scientists.  The IUCN’s Green List program certifies protected and conserved areas that are effectively managed and fairly governed. A Regulation-Based Classification System has been developed that scores MPAs based on fishing gear and their potential impact on biodiversity. Each of these efforts inform the criteria used to recognize effective marine protected areas through Blue Parks awards. 
These programs and awards are meant to disentangle the complexities of MPAs, shedding light on expected conservation outcomes. Our goal is to review programs that aim to characterize marine protected areas (MPAs) and clarify how they work together to identify, recognize, and encourage the creation of well-designed, effective MPAs. Our anticipated output is a position paper capturing the presentations and discussion to help clarify the efforts and how they contribute to more accurate global reporting of marine protection.
Our presentations and round-table discussion will focus on how to utilize the scientific guidance to identify fully and highly protected MPAs that contribute most to conserving marine biodiversity and ensure positive conservation outcomes.

Title: SSC-07 MPA Network design & management: Making things work despite data gaps

Organizer: Ms. Ilke Tilders, Ms. Lena Tingström

Imagine decision-makers meaningfully assess their MPA Network and make decisions that ensure the network to be representative, connected, functional and effectively managed. In particular, they have access to information about the state of the MPA Network and the successes and failures of the protection measures. This information builds on existing science and acknowledges the data gaps. This is what some innovative countries around the world are trying to achieve. In this symposium we will compare and contrast different cases. In Sweden, in the Baltic Sea and the U.K.
For each case we will share the approach taken (1) to forward (inter)national priorities in a structured framework of protection targets; (2) to set concrete objectives; (3) to “measuring success”, and dealing with data gaps; (4) to taking climate change  into consideration; (5) to  making adaptive management work; and (6) to dealing with the  governance implications of their design.
The expected output of the symposium is proceedings in the form of a report, in which the comparison and contrasting of approaches is captured. The output is important to sharpen our understanding of alternative approaches and can work as a guidance when planning and optimizing national or transboundary MPA networks.

Title: SSC-08 Recent innovations in marine protected area networks design and assessment

Organizer: Dr. Joachim Claudet, Ms. Charlotte Sève

Despite management efforts, human and environmental pressure on the oceans are increasing worldwide. Overfishing, in particular, is threatening the sustainability of fish stocks. Networks of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) can theoretically balance conservation and fisheries management objectives through their synergistic effects (Grorud-Colvert et al. 2014; Hopf et al. 2016). However, how these networks can operationally be implemented to enhance ecological and fisheries benefits is still unresolved. The challenge is then to design MPA networks that ensure biological persistence of several populations while maintaining sustainable fishery yields.
The symposium will serve at platform to bring together key scientists working on networks of MPAs and will stimulate discussion on how to address those challenges. The symposium outcomes will be:
• Identify design characteristics that allow networks of MPAs to produce synergistic effects
• Define implementation strategies to create networks for both ecological and fisheries management objectives
• Better understand how networks can adapt to global change
These results will be disseminated and transferred to the wider MPA community through a synthesis in paper. We believe our symposium will inform strategies to reach post-2020 targets effectively.

Title: SSC-09 Sharks, turtles and small-scale fisheries: saving marine megafauna in an ocean-dependent world

Organizer: Ms. Hollie Booth, Prof. EJ Milner-Gulland

The ocean provides 170 million tonnes of fisheries and aquaculture products for human use each year, accounting for 17% of animal protein consumed globally. By 2050 we expect our planet will need to provide sufficient and nutritious food for 10 billion people, which suggests the need for continued expansion of global fisheries to maintain or improve human well-being. Yet fish stocks and marine ecosystems already face depletion under current fishing pressures. The threat of overfishing is particularly acute for slow-growing, long-lived marine megafauna, such as sharks, rays and turtles. These species are caught as target, secondary or incidental catch throughout global fisheries, and their slow life history traits make them vulnerable to overexploitation. As a result, marine megafauna are some of the most threatened taxa in the world.
This creates one of the most intractable problems in marine conservation today: the need to balance conservation objectives for threatened marine megafauna with fisheries objectives for income, food security and human well-being. This trade-off is particularly challenging in small-scale fisheries in developing countries, where there is high dependency on marine resources.
This symposium seeks to explore this challenge, and present research from academics and conservation practitioners from around the world who are using inter-disciplinary approaches to understand and address it. We will explore these issues at multiple scales, from international policy to local-level implementation, and discuss how to scale-up action in 2020 and beyond, in the context of the post-2020 strategic framework for biodiversity and the sustainable development goals.
Expected outcomes include:
1. An understanding of the severity and drivers of threats to marine megafauna in fisheries
2. An introduction to novel frameworks for making management decisions that can be applied to multiple socio-ecological contexts
3. Exploration of creative approaches for facilitating uptake of management measures, which can tackle conservation objectives and balance livelihood concerns
4. Providing an inclusive platform for a diversity of voices – our symposium is female-led and will include researchers working at the front-line of these fisheries management challenges from Indonesia, India, Bangladesh and Peru.

Title: SSC-10 T'alang gud ahl hlGangulgaang sluu gin K'aldangaasaang (When we work together, amazing things happen): Marine conservation in Haida Gwaii, Canada

Organizer: Dr. Hilary Thorpe, Mr. Russ Jones

This session brings together representatives of Indigenous, federal and provincial governments and key stakeholders to examine how high levels of cooperation among typically disparate groups on a remote archipelago has led to innovative solutions for marine conservation. Situated on the edge of the continental shelf off the west coast of Canada, Haida Gwaii is the homeland of the Haida Nation, whose history of occupation dates back more than 12,000 years. As the Haida Nation pursues recognition of title to the lands and surrounding waters of Haida Gwaii through the Canadian court system, the Nation is also managing and protecting its territory through various cooperative arrangements with federal and provincial governments. Haida and Canadian government organizations are working collaboratively to advance marine planning and management initiatives on Haida Gwaii, and together are engaging stakeholder groups to develop enduring conservation solutions.
This symposium features examples of current collaborative initiatives on Haida Gwaii. These include cooperative management of Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, establishing safe distances offshore for marine shipping, restoring kelp forests diminished by historical activities, monitoring social-ecological systems, integrated ecosystem-based management planning, and participatory planning with stakeholders. Each talk will outline a challenge or problem, describe how it was approached, and highlight lessons learned. The importance of identifying shared objectives and building relationships across agencies and sectors at every level emerges as key to achieving marine conservation outcomes in a cooperative management context. Discussion following the symposium will focus on applying lessons learned in Haida Gwaii to advance marine conservation on a larger scale.

Title: SSC-11 The Ocean Knowledge-Action Network and the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development

Organizer: Dr. Anna Zivian

The Ocean Knowledge-Action Network (Ocean KAN) seeks to address ocean challenges and promote transformative pathways towards more sustainable human-ocean interactions through solutions-oriented research, by engaging with stakeholders from diverse sectors and regions, facilitating consultations among these stakeholders, scientific and governmental organizations, and the public, and by drawing on the international marine projects and communities in Future Earth, the World Climate Research Programme, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, the Scientific Committee for Ocean Research of the International Science Council, and beyond.
This session will inform how the Ocean KAN engages with the UN Decade of Ocean Science (Decade) for Sustainable Development, with the goal that the Decade focuses on actions that promote the second part of its title, sustainable development, and not simply the first part. The mission of the Ocean KAN, a “network of networks” comprised of ocean professionals from academia, civil society, public health, journalism, and other backgrounds, is to bridge disciplines and draw experts together to seek action-focused solutions. This session will provide input and help build connections with other ocean actors to inform the Decade’s start in 2021. The Ocean KAN has been focused on ways to engage broader ocean communities and different types of knowledge in the Decade, especially through learning networks, knowledge mobilization, capacity building, and engaging early career researchers and professionals. Anticipated outputs include written recommendations for the Ocean KAN to deliver to the Decade organizers, as well as input into the KAN’s ongoing engagement over the Decade’s 2021-2030 timeframe.

Title: SSC-12 The biomass status of exploited marine fisheries resources around the world

Organizer: Prof. Dirk Zeller, Dr. Maria Deng Palomares

Fisheries are a major driver of declines in fish abundance and biomass; thus, to be effective, conservation strategies need to account for the effects of fisheries management on fish populations. However, regular or semi-regular assessments of the biomass status of fished stocks (populations) are usually restricted to only a subset of stocks in developed countries, with developing countries underrepresented. This paucity of biomass assessments has been driven mainly by a perceived dearth of data, combined with a lack of suitable and easily applied methods to address the data-limited conditions of fisheries in most parts of the world. However, there now exists a suite of freely available assessment methods that are explicitly designed for data-limited situations. Combining these methods with the globally reconstructed fisheries catch data, the Sea Around Us was recently able to undertake over 1300 biomass assessments for more than 480 species around the world, grouped by Marine Ecoregions. This symposium will bring together global experts involved in these assessments, including the catch reconstruction and data-limited stock assessment process, and examine fisheries governance aspects in relation to biomass status. This symposium will introduce the global marine conservation community to these biomass findings and associated governance connections, and the associated, freely available data. In doing so, the symposium will promote the discussion around the utility of both the catch data reconstruction and the applicability of the data-limited assessment findings and their strategic policy and governance implications. The symposium will be structured as a set of short presentations (including Q&A) followed by an open-floor discussion forum with the audience.