Canadian Marine Shipping Risk Forum

In the fall of 2019, the Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR) launched the Canadian Marine Shipping Risk Forum (CMSRF) in collaboration with Clear Seas and with support from exactEarth.


This Community of Practice, part of MEOPAR Communities of Practice Program, is open to people and organizations working in or conducting research on shipping risk. It provides those interested with a platform to network and share knowledge around shipping risk. Find out more about how communities of practice are having an impact in the marine sector.

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What is the Canadian Marine Shipping Risk Forum?

The Canadian Marine Shipping Risk Forum is a community of practice (CoP), addressing topics relating to the exploration of risks of- and to- shipping, generally within the Canadian region. The CoP’s activities revolve around three primary interest areas: shipping movement data, shipping traffic modelling, and shipping risk quantification and assessment. On shipping data, types and means of acquisition and data handling, processing, and sharing (where possible) are addressed. Modelling of shipping activity cover needs, approaches and methods, sharing of model code, and modelling output performance assessment and metrics.

Shipping risk assessment and risk quantification comprise the bulk of the CoP’s focus, due to its breadth and importance. Shipping risk topics range from assessment of risks within a given operating region, to examination of the impacts of shipping traffic on diverse receptors (e.g. environment, species at risk, human health), and applications concerning vessel safety. Broadly, the CoP addresses problems related to the modelling of ship movement and presence, the impacts from these vessels to the environment and other receptors, and impacts to vessels from external sources.

What are the Canadian Marine Shipping Risk Forum’s Goals and Desired Results?

Identify best practices for shipping modelling and shipping risk analysis

By gathering experts to discuss state-of-the-art and operational practice in shipping risk analysis, the Community of Practice hopes to identify and update best practices to be recommended.

Identify gaps in marine shipping risk assessment and share knowledge to address them

Continual improvement of approaches requires the identification of “weak points”. Communication among practitioners on open issues can lead to novel solutions.

Maintain active discussion on new developments in marine shipping data sources

Data on vessels at sea is accumulating at an ever-increasing rate. Means of handling and interpreting these data are key to making sound decisions on risks both to and from vessels.

Provide a focal point for identifying new research in this trans-disciplinary interest area

When opportunities arise for branching out, the CoP can provide a table around which various disciplines can talk on common interests. Through this interaction, new partnerships may develop.

Risks of, and to, marine shipping have an inherent interdisciplinary nature, with interest held in diverse fields, including waterway traffic management, remote sensing, environmental science, geospatial modelling, transportation regulation, and risk analysis and management. The natural tendency of research within disciplines is generally more inward-looking than outward, which tends to concentrate globally valuable information within single fields of study or organizations. The Canadian Marine Shipping Risk Forum is one mechanism to help lower inter-discipline barriers to marine shipping analysis.

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New postdoctoral fellowship opportunity with the CMSRF community of practice

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CMSRF Webinars and Workshops

2023 Webinar Series: Beyond the Horizon: Role of Technology in Mitigating Shipping Risk

  1. Satellite Technology Recording | Detecting Dark Vessels | SmartWhale Program (September 21, 2023)
  2. Aerial Technology Recording | NASP Vessel Surveys | NASP RADARSAT for Marine Conservation | Drones (to come) (October 5, 2023)
  3. Shore-based Technology Recording | Nearshore Monitoring in Haida Territories | Marine Monitor (M2) (October 19, 2023)
  4. Water-based Technology Recording | Open Ocean Robotics Uncrewed Surface Vehicles | MarineLabs Coastal Intelligence | SEAMOR ROVs (to come) (November 9, 2023)

Permitting Cruise Ship Access to Glacier Bay National Park (May 23, 2023)

Marine Liability and Compensation: Who Pays for an Oil Spill in Canada and Beyond? (March 1, 2023)

Incorporating AIS Data to Support Navigational Safety in the Arctic (November 25, 2022)

Using AIS Data for Community Benefit (October 24, 2022)

Using AIS Data for Research (June 23, 2022)

Applying AIS Data to Marine Shipping Risk (May 5, 2022)

Managing Shipping Risk in Marine Protected Areas (June 24, 2021)

Lessons Learned from Community-Engaged Research and Capacity Engagement: North-South Collaborations to Support Low-Impact Arctic Shipping Corridors Decision-Making (May 7, 2021)

Building a Shared Perspective on Arctic Waters Through Community-Engaged Research (February 17, 2021)

Creating an Inventory of Marine Shipping Risk Resources (December 3, 2020)

State of the Art in Shipping Risk and Modelling (December 2, 2019)

Salish Sea Transboundary Working Group

The CMSRF hosts meetings of the Salish Sea Transboundary Working Group (SSTWG) to share work, ideas, concerns, questions, and issues about marine shipping risk in the Salish Sea region.

Discussion of the Sinking of and Spill from the Fishing Vessel Aleutian Isle (October 13, 2022)

Transboundary Risk Modelling and Mitigation in the Salish Sea (March 3, 2022)

Published November 21, 2023