The Need for a Centralized Data Centre

Many of the data holdings and documentation for the Strait of Georgia are best known by the lead researchers many of whom are aging and retired, data from major projects is fragmented, and in many cases, the data exist on obsolete media. There has been no comprehensive effort to protect this data legacy or to collate it for future study. This was recently further reinforced at the 2012 Fisheries and Oceans Canada State of the Ocean meetings, where many of the contributing scientists emphasized the need for a centralized data system.

Although the scope of this work is daunting, we are building from the efforts of many others who have conducted similar types of work for portions of the topics to be collated. For example, Dr. R.J. Beamish and G. McFarlane (DFO Science, retired) have completed an annotated bibliography of publications. Dr. D. Mackas has developed an archive of zooplankton samples collected in the Strait and attempted to standardize for sampling methods applied. UBC researchers have collated portions of the data for the development of ecosystem models in the Strait. The BCMCA collated a large number of datasets as part of a large initiative in the late 2000s. Many larger datasets can be accessed remotely and have not been incorporated within the SGDC database. Examples of these included fishery statistics maintained by the Department of Fisheries, long-term oceanographic monitoring at Nanoose Bay Naval centre, Strait of Georgia weather stations maintained by Environmental Canada, and extensive land use information maintained by the Province of BC.