Port Mouton Bay is being recognized for its conservation efforts, with the Community Conservation Research Network selecting the community as the subject of its first comprehensive study.
The study focuses on conservation actions the community is taking to address how open net pen finfish aquaculture is impacting on the critical services provided by local ecosystems, notably through productive marine habitat, ocean-based livelihoods and the pristine nature of beach shorelines.
The Network is a group of world-class researchers working with community, aboriginal and governmental partners globally. The team found Port Mouton Bay important in showing how scientific investigation of environmental concerns can take place with full participation of those holding knowledge at the local level. The researchers celebrated the fact that fishermen themselves are identifying both sustainable and unsustainable aspects of the Bay’s ecosystem, and determining how this affects community well-being.
Dr. Tony Charles, professor at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax and leader of the Community Conservation Research Network, said, “Through the efforts of fishermen and local scientists, working together, the community demonstrated why their local bay is not suitable for development of finfish aquaculture.”
The research includes studies showing low flushing rates, diminished lobster catches and Irish Moss harvest, metal contamination and sea bed and eel grass degradation.
“This is a great example of how community research and conservation can help protect the local environment and the fishery that depends on it,” he says.
Dr. Fikret Berkes, a researcher on community conservation and the use of local knowledge, said, “Community action for conservation in Port Mouton Bay provides lessons in Canada and internationally.”
“Citizen science helps communities to take charge of their futures. The use of citizen science in Port Mouton Bay provides a shining example of what communities can accomplish.”
The Community Conservation Research Network builds knowledge on how local communities can succeed in handling conservation issues and how governments can support these efforts. The Network’s research is producing results of national and international significance, giving important lessons for communities, policy makers and decision makers at all levels.
The Community Conservation Research Network is an international partnership of aboriginal organizations, community partners, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), university participants and government bodies. Hosted by Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada, the CCRN is led by Dr. Anthony Charles and is funded through a six-year Partnership Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). www.CommunityConservation.Net