Stakeholder Perceptions of Current Planning, Assessment and Science Initiatives in Canada’s Beaufort Sea

  • Courtney Fidler
  • Bram F. Noble
Keywords: Beaufort Sea, environmental assessment, offshore oil and gas, integrated regional impact study, integrated ocean management plan, Beaufort Regional Environmental Assessment


Over the past 30 years, the Beaufort Sea has been the site of many regional studies and planning efforts. Currently, three major initiatives are underway: the Integrated Regional Impact Study, which focuses on science; the Integrated Ocean Management Plan; and the Beaufort Regional Environmental Assessment. Despite the mounting pressures for offshore energy development in the region, little attention has been given to whether these initiatives facilitate a more coordinated and informed approach to planning, assessment, and decision making for such development. We examined stakeholder perceptions of the existing initiatives to ascertain whether and how they enable horizontal and vertical integration and how effectively they facilitate marine resource planning and decision making. The results show that three essentials of a more coordinated regional approach to planning for marine resources and offshore development are horizontal integration between management bodies, vertical integration from the strategic level and regional scale to the operational level and project scale, and an overarching vision for regional planning and development in the Beaufort Sea.