Incorporating concerns of coastal communities in planning and management: The case study of Port Joli and lessons learned from the Eastport Marine Protected Areas
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Marine environment and resources are experiencing the degradation in Canada. Since Oceans Act was established in 1996, the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has tried to engage a broader view of participatory governance. However, the evolution of engaging community has taken a long process to improve. This project examined the willingness to collaborate with federal governmental agencies (e.g. DFO, Park Canada, Environment Canada) in the Port Joli community, Nova Scotia (N.S.), and shared lessons learned from two Eastport Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), Newfoundland (N.L.). Data was conducted using the survey distributed to households in the Port Joli area, and interviews were used to collect experiences of the Eastport MPAs management team. The findings from this study indicated that the Port Joli community had major concerns in the decline of fish stocks, aquaculture development, and decreasing water quality. The community agreed that management approach such as community engagement, and tools, citizen science and MPAs, are important to be applied to address these issues. However, some challenges the respondents faced are the limited attempt by governmental agencies to address these concerns and their ability to provide long-term support for community-based initiatives. Based on the lessons learned from the Eastport MPA management process, respect local knowledge, information sharing and coordinator liaison are encouraged to be involved from the government’s perspectives. On the other hand, the Port Joli community is recommended to engage in capacity build and public awareness. Overall, participatory governance is based on a trust relationship between governmental agencies and communities, and the community engagement is a recognized approach to address marine and coastal concerns.