Marine Species on the Move in the Northwest Atlantic: A Sea of Governance Challenges

David L. VanderZwaag (1) Katja Fennel (2)

(1) Canada Research Chair in Ocean Law and Governance, Marine & Environmental Law Institute, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada

(2) Canada Research Chair in Marine Prediction, Oceanography Department, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada

This presentation will highlight how bilateral and regional fisheries management arrangements in the Northwest Atlantic have been addressing (or not) the shifts of marine species in the wake of changing ocean conditions. Canada-U.S. approaches to the management of transboundary species will first be described with a focus on shared groundfish stocks on Georges Bank where the countries have indirectly dealt with shifting ecosystems through an agreed resource allocation formula that ensures 90% of quota shares are based on geographical distribution.

How regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) in the region have responded to changes in the marine environment and species distributions will next be reviewed. Those RFMOs include the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO), and the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The challenges raised for ICCAT in managing Atlantic blue fin tuna that have recently moved into waters off Eastern Greenland will be especially emphasized.

Species on the Move

An International Conference Series

The conference brings together scientists and natural resource managers working in the disciplines of global change, biogeography and evolution, and relevant in contexts of natural resource management, biodiversity management and conservation, and theoretical ecology.


Species responses to climate change is a rapidly evolving research field, however, much of our progress is being made in independent research areas: e.g. understanding the process vs responding to the implications, terrestrial vs marine ecosystems, global meta-analyses vs in depth species-specific approaches. This interdisciplinary conference develops connections between these parallel streams, and across temporal and spatial scales.

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