About the B.C. Northern Shelf Bioregion MPA Network SeaSketch Portal

Photo by Iain Robert Reid

The B.C. Northern Shelf Bioregion (NSB) Marine Protected Area (MPA) Network planning process will use SeaSketch, a marine spatial planning tool designed for collaborative planning. The SeaSketch portal, designed specifically for this process, has hundreds of geospatial data layers including administrative boundaries, species, habitats and marine uses.

The portal will support collaborative decision making by using the information displayed to inform discussions and decisions related to designing the network of MPAs for the NSB. It will also be used to engage stakeholders by providing an opportunity to see the data, to review draft and final network designs, and support informed feedback. This tool is being used to make better management decisions in marine planning around the world.

Explore the MPA Network SeaSketch Portal

Visit the MPA Network SeaSketch Portal to see how this tool is used and explore the many data layers to learn about the ecology and human uses of B.C.’s Northern Shelf Bioregion.

You can use the portal to:

  • view publicly available* spatial data layers – ecological, social, cultural, economic and administrative;
  • read descriptions of marine data and follow links to the data sources;
  • print high quality maps or save maps as images; and
  • overlap marine species with uses and activities to explore potential spatial or temporal compatibilities or conflicts.*Some areas of the portal include restricted, sensitive or confidential spatial data and therefore are protected.

*Some areas of the portal include restricted, sensitive or confidential spatial data and therefore are protected.

How the Marine Protected Area Technical Team will use the Portal

Photo by Iain Robert Reid

The Marine Protected Area Technical Team (MPATT) plans to use the portal to view and overlay data layers that will inform the planning process. The custom reports and analytics generated within the portal will be used to support MPATT in designing a proposed network of MPAs. Although the ‘engine’ behind this portal is a geographic information system (GIS) with powerful geospatial analysis capability, the portal does not replace the use of traditional desktop GIS analysts and GIS software. The MPATT team will use this portal in tandem with GIS and spatial optimization methods (i.e., Marxan analyses) to support collaborative planning, increase transparency, and facilitate stakeholder engagement. For example, the portal generates reports that will help assess potential network designs. Reports will be generated to understand how an MPA network configuration overlaps with features that represent conservation priorities and human uses.

MPA Network of the Northern Shelf Bioregion is a collaborative partnership between the Government of Canada, the Province of BC and 17 member First Nations


MPA Network Government of Canada Province of BC Haida-Nation Coastal First Nations Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance Nanwakolas Counsil North Coast-Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society