Canada is surrounded by three social-ecologically distinct ocean regions: the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific. These oceans support rich biodiversity and provide vital social, economic and cultural benefits to Canadian society. The long-term sustainability of Canadian oceans is challenged by uncertainty over the impacts of future climate and socio-economic change. Scenario analysis can be used to address this uncertainty by exploring alternative futures for Canada’s three oceans under different pathways of climate, economic development, social and policy changes. However, to date there has been no national-scale scenario developed to enable the investigation of Canada’s future ocean sustainability. To facilitate this process, the authors discuss whether existing scenarios of Canadian oceans provide an integrative, social-ecological perspective about potential future conditions for Canada’s fisheries and marine ecosystems. They then apply the findings to inform the development of a national-level scenario framework which allows a social-ecological examination of Canada’s oceans in terms of the state of future environmental, social and economic uncertainties.
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