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Arctic Marine Activities Integration & Synthesis Project (AMAIS): Enhancing Ocean Governance Through the Northern Marine Transportation Corridors

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    Dr. Jackie Dawson

For this project, an interdisciplinary team will focus on shipping activity in Arctic Canada as well as integrating local knowledge of sensitive and culturally important marine areas in Arctic Canada.

Increased navigability of Arctic waters, as a result of climate change, is now intersecting with the global appetite for untapped natural resources and growing traffic through the Northwest Passage. This situation is testing Canada’s safety and security, and challenging northern communities.

The project has established the first longitudinal database of ship traffic in Arctic Canada (1990 to present). The database enables analysis of changing temporal and spatial shipping patterns over time including by ship type (i.e. cargo, resource, tourism, etc.). The database can be used to make policy and management decisions on current and future shipping increases in the region. Community case studies across Arctic Canada were conducted in order to identify the major risks and opportunities of increased shipping activity for local communities and to identify important cultural marine sites that need protection from ships. The data gathered in communities will help to prioritize the Northern Marine Shipping Corridors, which is a set of shipping corridors where infrastructure and services are prioritized and where ship traffic is encouraged. The identification of sensitive cultural marine sites within this research enabled the corridors to more fully consider sensitive sites and local culture and ensure that ships are encouraged to travel in areas that are less sensitive and that will have the lowest risk to local communities.

This project is one of nine research projects funded through MEOPAR's partnership with Irving Shipbuilding Inc.  Read More


  • CCG - Canadian Coast Guard
  • Environment Canada - Canadian Ice Service
  • Oceans North Canada
  • Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (Canada‚Äôs National Inuit Organization)
  • Transport Canada


  • Trevor Bell
  • Luke Copeland
  • Margaret Johnston


  • Jenna Joyce
  • Annika Ogilvie
  • Larissa Pizzolato


  • Copeland,Luke,Dawson,Jackie,Johnston, E.E., Pizzolato, L., Howell, S., Pelot, R., Etienne, L., Matthews, L., and Parsons, J.. 2017, Adaptation strategies and policy options for arctic shipping in Canada, ,
  • Pizzolato,Larissa,. 2015, Arctic Shipping in Canada: Analysis of Sea Ice, Shipping, and Vessel Track Reconstruction, MSc thesis, University of Ottawa,
  • Copeland,Luke,White, A., Crawford, A., Mueller, D.R., Van Wychen, W., Thomson, L. and Vincent, W.F.. 2015, Glaciers, Ice Shelves and Ice Islands in the Eastern Canadian Arctic. , ArcticNet Integrated Regional Impact Study,
  • Dawson,Jackie,Johnston ,Margaret ,Stewart, E.J.. 2016, Growth and challenges in cruise tourism in arctic Canada, Northern Pubic Affairs, 4(3), 27-30,
  • Copeland,Luke,Dawson,Jackie,Dalton, A., and Delaney, F.. 2017, Iceberg Drifting and Climatology of AIRSS (Arctic Ice Regime Shipping System) Indices, ,
  • Dawson,Jackie,Johnston ,Margaret ,De Souza, E., and Stewart, E.J.. 2016, Managing the fastest growing marine shipping sector in arctic Canada: pleasure craft vessels, Polar Record, 53(1), 67-78,
  • Copeland,Luke,Dalton, A.. 2016, Quantifying the Number of Icebergs off the East Coast of Canada that Originate from Baffin and Ellesmere lslands, Canadian Ice Service, 41 pp,
  • Porta, L., Abou-Abussi, E., Dawson, J., and Mussells, O. 2017, Shipping corridors as a framework for advancing marine law and policy in the Canadian Arctic, Oceans and Coastal Law Journal, 22(1), 63-84,
  • Dawson,Jackie,Johnston, M.E., and Stewart, E.J.. 2017, The unintended consequences of regulatory complexity: the case of cruise toursim in arctic Canada, Marine Policy, 76, 71-78,

With the Canadian Coast Guard, Oceans North Canada, and the Canadian Ice Service– and through continued collaboration with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (Canada’s national Inuit organization) - the aim of this project is to contribute new knowledge that can be used to ensure safe Arctic shipping through the prioritization of the Northern Marine Transportation Corridors.