Employing science to safeguard marine life with GLORES


By Sarah Hameed

Scientists from academic institutions, NGOs, and government agencies huddled in twos and threes over papers, pens, and laptops. While we worked in a windowless room, our minds were in the salty sea. Two old friends studied the regulations and enforcement in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, feeding ground to a myriad of whales, seals, sharks and birds off the eastern coast of the U.S. Two recent acquaintances recorded the size and age of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park that protects breathtaking corals and the species that call them home along Australia’s northeastern coast. Our task was to test a marine protected area (MPA) evaluation framework – to identify its weaknesses and brainstorm solutions. Our goal is to protect marine biodiversity around the globe.


Image: Scientists put the GLORES evaluation criteria through the paces during a focus group held at the International Marine Conservation Congress.

“Making marine science matter,” was the theme of the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC4), held this month in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. More than twenty scientists devoted a full day at the end of the conference to make their science matter by developing the evaluation criteria for the Global Ocean Refuge System in a focus group led by Marine Conservation Institute.

Marine Conservation Institute has initiated the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES) to address the growing threats to life in sea. It will be a strategic network of strongly protected marine areas awarded designation according to science-based standards. The designation award incentives aim to catalyze meaningful protections for at least 30% of the marine ecosystems in each region of the ocean by 2030. It is an ambitious goal – currently only about 2% of the global ocean is effectively protected – but it is one that reflects the growing scientific consensus that meaningful protection of 30% or more of the global ocean is needed to safeguard marine ecosystems [1]. GLORES relies on the large body of science identifying the attributes of effective MPAs to set the bar for meaningful protections of marine life.

GLORES 2 (1)

Image: An overview of the draft GLORES evaluation criteria.

Participants in the GLORES focus group at IMCC4 built on the accomplishments of workshops held last fall in California, U.S.A. and two years ago at IMCC3 in Glasgow, Scotland. We wrestled with challenging aspects of evaluating MPAs: judging MPAs with multiple regulatory zones, identifying appropriate evidence of community engagement in MPA management, and determining the activities compatible with protecting marine life when the impacts of those activities are unclear.

What emerged from our efforts in St. John’s was a commitment to strengthen the GLORES evaluation framework and launch the Global Ocean Refuge System with an online nomination platform, candidate site evaluations, and inaugural GLORES awards as soon as possible. A rapid industrial revolution is underway in the ocean, and we recognize the urgent need to catalyze protections and stem the loss of marine biodiversity. In the coming year we will debut the Global Ocean Refuge System to safeguard marine life now and for future generations.

Please be in touch if you are interested in supporting GLORES or receiving updates about GLORES.


[1] O’Leary, B. C., M. Winther-Janson, J. M. Bainbridge, J. Aitken, J. P. Hawkins, and C. M. Roberts. 2016. Effective coverage targets for ocean protection. Conservation Letters.

Dr. Sarah Hameed is a postdoctoral fellow at Marine Conservation Institute.



Archive Your IMCC4 Poster and Slides with a DOI


The quality of the science that has already been communicated at the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC4) is just formidable. So many amazing talks and engaging posters.


The live-tweets that have been sent, and the knowledge that has been shared is already a lasting impact of IMCC4, but we want that impact to be so much more. Therefore, for the first time in IMCC history we are setting up infrastructure for you to archive your talk or poster.

All you need to do is upload them at our F1000 Channel. You’ll receive a DOI reference when your submission is finished processing. Please don’t upload anything you don’t want shared as this is totally open access. Also, there is an option to submit an article, but we will not be using this. Submissions to the conference proceedings hosted by Frontiers in Marine Science can be made here.

Poster Session Food – An Apology


Dear IMCC4 Delegates,

The IMCC4 Organizing Committee just want to make an apology this morning for the nature of the food that was served at last night’s poster session. It was our intention that the only non-vegetarian food served at the congress would be at this evening’s sustainable seafood dinner. The meat and seafood of unknown provenance was not at all what we had intended to have served at the event. At this IMCC and future ones it will continue to be the SCB Marine Section’s intention to reduce its carbon footprint and to discourage the consumption of unsustainable seafood. Thank you for your understanding. We hope you enjoyed the event otherwise. There were so many great posters and the local art was fantastic.


The IMCC Organizing Committee.



By Karen Anspacher-Meyer

Spirit Bear-Doug Neasloss.jpg

(Photo Credit: Douglas Neasloss)

Come bask in some Canadian ocean optimism! Tuesday night is the IMCC Marine Movies evening extravaganza. Delicious appetizers, cash bar, dessert and an unforgettable journey to the Great Bear Sea. Q&A with First Nations and British Columbia marine planners. 6pm at Rocket Bakery (upstairs), 272 Water St., downtown St. John’s. Free event.

  • Spirit bears, salmon, wolves, whales
  • One of the largest marine planning areas in the world
  • Successful partnership among First Nations, BC government and stakeholders
  • Collaborative research
  • Traditional knowledge
  • Watch the trailer: https://youtu.be/TJJiPZ21uV8

My partner, Ralf Meyer, and I have worked for 25 years producing films that tell stories about sustainability and the conservation of natural resources, filming in remote places in North America and meeting people who I refer to as “the most amazing people in the worldbold leaders working for a more just and sustainable future. When we travelled to the Great Bear Sea to produce this film, we were captivated as we stepped into this incomparable place along the north Pacific coast of British Columbia and met the people who call this home.


(Photo Credit: Green Fire)

But The Great Bear Sea film isn’t my story about the people and the place. Elders and young First Nations leaders, the BC government and the people creating these marine plans are the storytellers here—sharing a window not only to the issues they are facing, but also the vision and solutions held in the plans.

Everything we eat, whether it’s inter-tidal, whether it’s bottom fish, whether it’s herring, whether it’s herring spawn, whether it’s salmon – everything comes out of that ocean. It’s a lifeline. It’s a lifeline for our people. – William Housty, Chair, Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department

The Great Bear Sea is a major intersection between rich culture, deep human history, industrial interest, and the natural world. For three years we have focused our cameras on the Great Bear Sea and always come away with the pivotal nature of the marine plans and the importance of seeing the plans implemented. I encourage you to see one of the most promising stories of our time.


(Photo Credit: Green Fire)

Following the film, First Nations leaders Russ Jones, Hereditary Chief, Haida Nation & Project Manager of the Haida Oceans Technical Team and Dallas Smith, President, Nanwakolas Council, plus Karen Topelko, Senior Marine Planner, BC Government and I will take your questions.

This free event will take place offsite, in the third floor community room of Rocket Bakery in downtown St. John’s – a five-minute walk from the Delta Conference Center. Appetizers (including vegan and gluten-free) and beverages will be served. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Sandwiches, drinks, snacks and other items from the bakery will also be available for purchase in the dining area. If you hope to purchase dinner, we suggest you arrive early, before the event; kitchen may close before this event is over.

6pm Appetizers & cash bar

6:30 Film

7:30 Q+A

8:00 Dessert, coffee & cash bar social

Details:  http://conbio.org/mini-sites/imcc-2016/program-events/marine-movies/

Nevaeh The Narwhal is Stoked for IMCC


By Nevaeh the Narwhal


It’s the first full day of the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress. I’m so stoked! So is all of St. John’s. My friends at Destination St. John’s have even put up posters! We cant wait to hear all the stories of the ocean you’re going to tell us. We don’t get many coral reefs up this way, but we really like our fishing. The talks on all these important topics are going to be so great.

I just wanted to let you know that if you have any issues during the conference we’re very happy to give you the warmest of Newfoundland welcomes and help you out any way we can. Our contact details are here.

I’ll see you all at the opening ceremony, as will my fellow conference mascots Caleb the Cod and Skylar The Starfish. We’ll be hanging out in the conference hallway on the merchandise table.

Enjoy Canada. Enjoy Newfoundland. Enjoy St. John’s. Enjoy #IMCC4.




Merchandise costs

Nevaeh the Narwhal plush toy – $18 ($23 CAD)

Skylar the Starfish necklace – $28 USD ($36 CAD)

Caleb the Cod shot glass – $10 USD ($13 CAD)

Full merchandise details


10 Delegate Tips on How to Use Social Media at #IMCC4


By the participants of Workshop WS95


Hello Delegates!

We’re currently in a workshop where we are learning how to make the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress (#IMCC4) the most social media friendly conference possible. Here is our ten-point plan for you. You SHOULD be using it!

  1. Go where the conversation is already. Join it. Don’t try to make a new one from scratch.
  2. Retweet your colleagues’ work, don’t just favorite it. It helps spread the science message further.
  3. Contact a presenter on Twitter whose presentation you loved. They won’t mind at all!
  4. Think about your audience when choosing which social media platform to use.
  5. Choose appropriate language.
  6. Storify is easier to do if you do it right away.
  7. You can talk about real things in 140 characters. Be concise!
  8. Use social media, because mainstream media picks up stories from it. You can drive the story!
  9. What you put on social media can be read forever. Don’t tweet anything you wouldn’t want ANYONE to know.
  10. The half-life of a tweet is seconds. Tweet often, tweet more often, and tweet like your life depends on it. That’s what makes IMCC4 MASSIVE!

Crowdsourcing better data on small-scale fisheries


By Kendra Karr

Many of the world’s fish are caught in small-scale fisheries that lack data about the health of fish populations, giving managers very limited information to base management decisions on. In turn, most of these fisheries appear to be under-performing with respect to conservation, the amount of food they can produce, the amount of money they can generate, and the quality of the livelihoods they can support. There is a perception that these fisheries cannot be assessed without large amounts of data. Because of this perception, many fisheries remain unassessed, ineffectively managed or not managed at all leading to under performance or even collapse.


(Photo credit: Jason Houston)

Fortunately, there are alternatives: fishermen and women, community members, managers and scientists are collaborating to bridge the data gap for these important fishing communities; increasing knowledge and resources for effective fishery assessment and management. While these collaborations have started to fill in the gaps, we still need input from fishery managers and practitioners for a complete picture of the data.

In collaboration with small-scale fisheries around the world, we are beginning to collect information on the pathway and tools employed in actions of science-based fishery co-management in small-scale, data-limited contexts.

Context and goals:

Finding ways to evaluate small-scale fisheries means gaining a deeper insight into the pathways and tools used to transition fisheries to more science based solutions. These solutions allow fisheries to meet environmental, social and economic goals. Successful fisheries around the world have shown that establishing secure fishing rights with science-based catch limits not only empowers fishermen to become stewards of the resource, but can also support a pathway to long-term sustainability. Both the pathways and tools employed to reform fisheries vary, but there are a growing number of examples that use a form of co-management along with science-based fishery management.

Case studies help identify the many ways stakeholders address the challenges their fisheries are facing and help develop science-based solutions for sustainable fishing.

Upcoming panel at IMCC:

At this year’s International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador – in collaboration with five fisheries – we will hear the stories from those involved in transitioning a small-scale, data-limited fishery into a science-based managed fishery. Attendees are encouraged to participate in the symposium – Integrated science and management solutions for data-limited and low governance fisheries – and contribute to the associated panel discussion.

Small-scale fisheries are reforming during a fortunate period, as there are tools designed to empower on the ground partners to address the challenges these fisheries are facing. These tools can be used to develop sustainable solutions that support more fish in the water, more food on the plate and more prosperous communities.

Let’s hear your story, so together we can bridge the gap in knowledge and understanding of the critical resources.

How you can participate:

  • Contribute to our survey: Fishery Assessment and Management Pathway.
  • Attend our symposium and panel discussion on data limited assessment and co-management of fisheries at this year’s International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) on August 1st 8:30-11:30 in Salon F.

Kendra Carr is a Scientist with the Fishery Solutions Center of the Environmental Defense Fund and conducts cutting edge research that drives innovation in fishery assessment and management. Her research focuses on data-limited stock assessment, fishery management and science-based networks of marine protected areas.