Event Title

Ocean pollution indicators for the Strait of Georgia

Presentation Abstract

In the Salish Sea, pollution represents an anthropogenic pressure which would clearly benefit from a methodical tracking of contaminant types, levels and trends in the environment and in valued biota. A surprising lack of regimented, ecosystem-based pollution monitoring efforts presently constrains the ability to track trends in priority pollutants in the Strait of Georgia. However, datasets for certain pollutants are available from different agencies, reflecting their legislated need to monitor discharges to the environment. These datasets are captured in articles and reports. Seldom are they made available in an integrated manner to decision makers or the general public, with the result that it is difficult to construct a ‘state of the environment assessment’ for coastal British Columbia. We are collating available datasets in support of a series of ocean pollution indicators, which will contribute to a new coast-wide ‘ocean health’ initiative being launched by the Vancouver Aquarium’s new Coastal Ocean Research Institute. We will present here our conceptual framework, and illustrate its utility by drafting case studies. These examples will capture priority pollutant topics and provide for an overview of trends. We will then develop a cumulative index of pollution which integrates concentrations of different contaminant classes and affords insight into trends by trophic level, marine fisheries catches, and in species of concern. This ‘Marine Pollution Trophic Index (MPTI)’ will track pollutant responses to past or present emissions histories, thereby providing insight into the overall health of food webs and potential risks for human health. MPTI trends for a given species or aggregate of species can then be compared against toxic effect thresholds and human consumption guidelines. These indicators will then be applied to forward-looking, climate-driven scenarios to inform marine and climate policies in Canada.

Session Title

Softening Borders through Information Exchange: Monitoring and Indicator- Efforts Within and Across Boundaries in the Salish Sea

Conference Track

Policy and Management

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2016 : Vancouver, B.C.)

Document Type

Event

Location

2016SSEC

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

Text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Ocean pollution indicators for the Strait of Georgia

2016SSEC

In the Salish Sea, pollution represents an anthropogenic pressure which would clearly benefit from a methodical tracking of contaminant types, levels and trends in the environment and in valued biota. A surprising lack of regimented, ecosystem-based pollution monitoring efforts presently constrains the ability to track trends in priority pollutants in the Strait of Georgia. However, datasets for certain pollutants are available from different agencies, reflecting their legislated need to monitor discharges to the environment. These datasets are captured in articles and reports. Seldom are they made available in an integrated manner to decision makers or the general public, with the result that it is difficult to construct a ‘state of the environment assessment’ for coastal British Columbia. We are collating available datasets in support of a series of ocean pollution indicators, which will contribute to a new coast-wide ‘ocean health’ initiative being launched by the Vancouver Aquarium’s new Coastal Ocean Research Institute. We will present here our conceptual framework, and illustrate its utility by drafting case studies. These examples will capture priority pollutant topics and provide for an overview of trends. We will then develop a cumulative index of pollution which integrates concentrations of different contaminant classes and affords insight into trends by trophic level, marine fisheries catches, and in species of concern. This ‘Marine Pollution Trophic Index (MPTI)’ will track pollutant responses to past or present emissions histories, thereby providing insight into the overall health of food webs and potential risks for human health. MPTI trends for a given species or aggregate of species can then be compared against toxic effect thresholds and human consumption guidelines. These indicators will then be applied to forward-looking, climate-driven scenarios to inform marine and climate policies in Canada.