Atlantic Coastal Zone Information Steering Committee (ACZISC)

The Atlantic Coastal Zone Information Steering Committee (ACZISC) was established in January 1992 to foster cooperation in Atlantic Canada with regard to Integrated Coastal and Ocean Management (ICOM), coastal mapping and geomatics. The ACZISC is actively: 1) networking and disseminating information via meetings and thematic workshops, and the Coastal Update e-newsletter and the ACZISC website; 2) engaging stakeholders in the establishment of COINAtlantic – the Coastal and Ocean Information Network – in support of ICOM in Atlantic Canada; and participating in studies and projects to further our understanding of the coastal zone. COINAtlantic is based on the principle that data custodians manage their data effectively and make it and associated metadata searchable and accessible on the internet. The ACZISC holds two meetings per year in the Atlantic provincial capitals by rotation. In addition, it organizes thematic workshops as required. The meetings and workshops are attended by ACZISC Members and by observers from all sectors, including community groups, the private sector, academia, etc.

The ACZISC Strategic Plan identifies three priorities:

  1. Encouraging action on the implementation of Integrated Coastal and Ocean Management (ICOM) as a tool to realize environmental, economic and social sustainability.
  2. Collaborative sharing of data and information between members and with the wider ICOM CoP on the ICOM issues of priority to members.
  3. Encouraging the engagement of organizations in the ACZISC that is reflective of the diversity of the ICOM CoP.

To promote the sharing of data, the ACZISC has developed three tools (

The COINAtlantic GeoContent Generator (CGG) that can be used for the creation of basic metadata, searchable on the internet, for an organization, a project, a publication or a dataset.

The COINAtlantic Search Utility (CSU) that searches the internet for spatial resources (i.e. WMS and KML), a local database of previous successful searches, and the CGG entries according to the users’ criteria and displays them in map form. The CSU also tests the availability of each spatial resource stored in the local database on a regular basis.

The COINAtlantic Data Accessibility Self-Assessment Tool (CDAST) is a questionnaire designed to assess an organization’s effectiveness at providing accessibility to data under its custodianship according to 11 principles.


Canadian Cryospheric Information Network/Polar Data Catalogue (PDC/CCIN)

The Canadian Cryospheric Information Network (CCIN) and the Polar Data Catalogue (PDC) have been developed over the past two decades through collaborative partnerships between the University of Waterloo and numerous government, university, and private organizations to provide the data and information management infrastructure for the Canadian cryospheric community.


Canadian Healthy Oceans Network (CHONe) II

The NSERC CHONe II Strategic Research Program is developing new conservation strategies for Canada’s changing oceans by partnering Canadian university researchers and government scientists. CHONe brings together 39 researchers from 11 universities, one community college, and multiple federal research labs from coast to coast in Canada. CHONe II’s research program addresses two broad, interlinked questions: What ecosystem characteristics define the capacity of Canada’s oceans to recover or respond to management strategies such as networks of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), spatial closures, or restoration, and Can we understand and quantify how key stressors, including cumulative impacts, alter marine biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services in high use environments? For more information visit


Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has the lead federal role in managing Canada’s fisheries and safeguarding its waters. The Department supports strong economic growth in our marine and fisheries sectors by supporting exports and advancing safe maritime trade, supports innovation through research in expanding sectors such as aquaculture and biotechnology, and contributes to a clean and healthy environment and sustainable aquatic ecosystems through habitat protection, oceans management, and ecosystems research. The Department’s work is guided by five key pieces of legislation: the Oceans Act, the Fisheries Act, the Species at Risk Act, the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, and the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (Transport Canada-led).

DFO also hosts Canada’s National Oceanographic Data Centre in the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission’s (IOC) International Data and Information Exchange Panel. In addition to the scientific environmental monitoring, research and modelling activities conducted at its several facilities, DFO also fulfills Canada’s data management in several GOOS components, such as the international Argo programme. DFO also plays an active role in the data management activities of the Joint Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology of the World Meteorological Organization and IOC. DFO frequently partners with other departments, academia, and various consortia to deliver its mandate.


L’Observatoire global du Saint-Laurent/St. Lawrence Global Observatory (OGSL/SLGO)

The St. Lawrence Global Observatory represents the collective information, expertise, and means implemented by member organizations and the SLGO Corporation.

The observatory concept covers the range of activities, capacities, and infrastructures for the collection, management, analysis, processing, modelling, and dissemination of data, information knowledge, and value-added products and services implemented by data producers in response to user needs.

Setting up an observatory such as the SLGO is creating a data value chain. At one end, data from ecosystems monitoring activities is produced then processed, documented and standardized by SLGO member organizations. SLGO makes information products and services available for decision makers and end-users by efficiently integrating its members’ quality data and information.

SLGO’s collaborative approach contributes to reducing duplicated efforts and collective costs of data dissemination by creating synergy between data producers and by fostering sharing of means and expertise.

By being a key component of the information infrastructure, SLGO promotes data valorization which contributes to addressing societal issues and translating into socio-economic benefits.


Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) Network

Established in 2012 through Canada’s federal Networks of Centres of Excellence Program, the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) Network is a national network of academic researchers and students, government scientists, and partners in the private, NGO and community sectors working together to reduce vulnerability and strengthen opportunity in Canada’s marine environment.  Our primary activities include:

MEOPAR is hosted at Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.


Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland (MI)

Located at Memorial University in Newfoundland, the Fisheries and Marine Institute is Canada’s most comprehensive centre for education, training, applied research and industrial support for the ocean industries. The Marine Institute provides more than 20 industry-driven programs ranging from technical certificates to master’s degrees. In addition to undergraduate and graduate degrees, the Institute offers advanced diplomas, diplomas of technology and technical certificates. The Institute has three Schools – the School of Fisheries, the School of Maritime Studies and the School of Ocean Technology – and within these Schools a number of specialized centres and units. These centres and units lead the Institute, both nationally and internationally, in applied research and technology transfer and in the provision of training to a variety of industry clients.


Ocean Networks Canada (ONC)

Ocean Networks Canada operates the world-leading NEPTUNE and VENUS cabled ocean observatories off the west coast of Canada, along with coastal community observatories in British Columbia and the Canadian Arctic. These observatories collect data on physical, chemical, biological, and geological aspects of the ocean over long time periods, supporting research on complex Earth processes in ways not previously possible.

Data collected by the observatories are archived and made freely available over the Internet through Oceans 2.0, ONC’s data management system. Oceans 2.0 provides further unique scientific and technical capabilities that permit researchers to operate instruments remotely and receive data at their home laboratories anywhere on the globe in real time.

The Ocean Networks Canada Innovation Centre (previously called the ONC Centre for Enterprise and Engagement)—one of Canada’s Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and research—promotes the advanced technologies developed by NEPTUNE and VENUS.


Ocean Tracking Network (OTN)

The Ocean Tracking Network is a global research, technology development, and partnership platform headquartered at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada. Starting in 2008, and beginning full operations in 2010, OTN has been deploying Canadian acoustic receivers and oceanographic monitoring equipment in key ocean locations around the world and establishing partnerships with a global community of telemetry users. OTN is documenting the movements and survival of marine animals carrying electronic tags and how they are influenced by oceanographic conditions. OTN deployments occur in all of the world’s five oceans and span seven continents. OTN is tracking many keystone, commercially important, and endangered species, including marine mammals, sea turtles, squid, benthic crustaceans and fishes including sharks, sturgeon, eels, tuna, salmonids, and cod.

Over 400 international researchers from 18 countries are currently participating in the global network along with many more trainees, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows. OTN’s Data Centre (OTNDC) curates more than 130-million detection records and growing and serves as a repository for data collected by OTN researchers. OTNDC is also partnering with similar efforts in Australia and Belgium, as well as sharing best practices and their proven database structure with acoustic telemetry organizations in South Africa, Brazil, the USA and Europe.  OTN is developing interpretation and visualization tools for analysis of tracking data. OTN also operates a fleet of autonomous marine gliders for use as mobile listening stations, and in support of oceanographic and tracking research.