The Eastern Scotian Shelf Integrated Ocean Management Plan is a multi-year, strategic-level plan to provide long-term direction and commitment for integrated, ecosystem-based and adaptive management of all marine activities in or affecting the Eastern Scotian Shelf.
The Plan provides an objectives-based approach to ocean management. It contains a set of long-term goals for collaborative governance and integrated management, sustainable human use, and healthy ecosystems. These goals are supported by more specific objectives that express desired outcomes and conditions for the Eastern Scotian Shelf. It is these goals and objectives that underlay the Plan and provide the basis for defining management strategies and measuring progress on Plan implementation. Above all, the objectives-based approach seeks to ensure that interrelationships among ecosystem and human use objectives are recognized and reflected in the identification of management strategies and supporting actions.
The Plan functions at a level above existing sector-based management for marine activities. It focuses on the overall management of the Eastern Scotian Shelf and considers all ocean uses and the environment. This area-based approach enables marine planning, management and decision making to occur at appropriate spatial scales, from regional to site-specific. It also promotes the consideration of various interactions among human activities, and between those activities and the environment.
The Plan is not intended to provide a detailed prescription of all measures required to achieve its objectives. Rather, the aim of the Plan is to augment or enhance existing decision-making processes by linking sector planning and management to an overarching set of goals and objectives.
In many cases, this is accomplished by reference and linkages within the Plan to existing management plans and mechanisms. The Plan also identifies strategies for inclusion in sector-based management processes to support broader objectives and desired outcomes and conditions.
The Plan has been developed through a collaborative and inclusive process – the ESSIM Initiative – involving all interested and affected government departments and ocean stakeholders. The collaborative planning model for the ESSIM Initiative includes mechanisms for intergovernmental policy and program coordination, as well as real and effective participation by all stakeholders in all aspects of the planning process. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) provides leadership and facilitation for the ESSIM Initiative through its mandate under the Oceans Act.
This process has allowed for the development of a Plan that is accepted by stakeholders and endorsed by legislative and regulatory authorities.