Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 51

Maritime Activities in the Canadian Arctic: A Tool for Visualizing Connections between Stakeholders Leah Beveridge, Mélanie Fournier & Ronald Pelot The Canadian-German project PASSAGES (Protection and Advanced Surveillance System for the Arctic: Green, Efficient, Secure)1aims to: (1) determine the needs of Canadian stakeholders for better maritime situational awareness; and (2) design a maritime monitoring system adapted to Arctic conditions. Although the system could be deployed in the circumpolar region as a whole, the geographical zone of interest is the Northwest Passage within the Canadian Arctic archipelago. In its first phase, PASSAGES has created a database by collecting and cross-referencing contextual information and interacting with potential users of such a system (government agencies, shipping companies, communities etc.). Exploring the Canadian stakeholder network is a necessary part of understanding how operations are planned for and conducted. The sources of this information, however, remain fragmented and difficult to locate. The objective here is to take a new approach to sharing stakeholder information through a visualization tool. The goal is to go beyond traditional bibliographies and indexes to provide a comprehensive account of the major stakeholders in the Canadian Arctic, including an evaluation of their scale(s) of operation, their interests, and interactions. Introduction Maritime activities in the Canadian Arctic have historically been minimal; aside from some offshore oil and gas exploration in the Beaufort Sea, uses have been limited to annual community resupply, minor commercial fishing, and significant local subsistence harvesting. As the climate continues to warm and the sea ice continues to diminish, it is expected that the level of activity by maritime vessels in the Canadian Arctic will also steadily grow. The majority of the growth will be destinational traffic for natural resources projects and community resupply, and cruise tourism (AMSA 2009; Lasserre & Pelletier 2011). This change in traffic presents numerous opportunities for economic development both for Canada as well as internationally, such as new transportation routes and increasing cruise tourism. There are also numerous risks, though, most of which revolve around the immense potential environmental damage that could arise from an accident. )1