A new briefing note on Canada’s Marine Planning Atlas for Atlantic Canada

A new briefing note on Canada’s Marine Planning Atlas for Atlantic Canada

The federal government through the Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans has committed to develop marine spatial plans in three marine spatial planning areas in Atlantic Canada by 2024. The first step in the planning process is the creation and launch of the Canada Marine Planning Atlas-Atlantic, an online, interactive, publicly accessible atlas that includes spatial data of interest to decision makers regarding marine resource use and environmental protection. Coastal communities are closely connected to the ocean and should benefit from marine spatial planning (MSP). The Atlas can inform them about relevant legislation and spatial data and could also be an excellent tool to facilitate local engagement in the MSP processes. This research project, conducted by Master of Planning student, Julia Szujo, co-supervised by Dr. Patricia Manuel (Dalhousie School of Planning) and Dr. Bertrum MacDonald (Dalhousie School of Information Management), explored aspects of the Atlas with input from coastal stakeholders in Nova Scotia and identified spatial data and information that are important to the marine interests of coastal communities. Incorporating fine-scale data for local waters and coastal areas can increase the utility of the Atlas for planners and decision makers in coastal regions and reflect local-level interests. Increasing opportunities for local-level participation in the MSP processes will lead to more relevant and effective marine plans. The briefing note outlines the research findings and recommendations from the project.


•   A public atlas needs to be accessible to users with diverse interests and needs.

•   The Canada Marine Planning Atlas-Atlantic can be a tool for community education and engagement in MSP.

•   The Canada Marine Planning Atlas-Atlantic has the potential to be useful to different sectors, e.g., local planning, to support connections with marine interests.

•   The Canada Marine Planning Atlas-Atlantic can support land and sea interactions and decision-making in the management of coastal waters.

•   Data from different organizations can improve the applicability of the Canada Marine Planning Atlas-Atlantic at the local level.