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The Quinault Indian Nation’s Dungeness crab fleet consists of 25 vessels that deploy approximately 10,000 crab traps per season. The fleet has recognized the need to track fishing activity, and specifically track location of traps for both retrieval of derelict gear and to try to reduce the occurrence of gear tampering. Coupled with an industry-wide recognition that fishing has become more difficult due to environmental and enforcement issues, these fishermen are embracing a new type of data collection that can help them manage these challenges. The Quinault are leading the drive for better and more transparent data collection in Washington State’s Dungeness crab fishery.

US fisheries policy encourages co-management of fisheries with native tribes at both the state and federal levels. Our electronic monitoring emphasizes data accessibility, providing the Quinault with information they can use to better carry out this co-management.


Quinault EM docks   Quinault EM screen


Electronic monitoring data is helping to track crab pot deployment numbers and locations, limit illegal activity, and gain more information about crab population trends and movements.

As strings of traps are set and retrieved, an onboard scanner reads an RFID chip that has been embedded in marker buoys. With each scan, our computer also records time, location, and gear data, giving fisheries managers an unprecedented look at crab fishing locations, effort, enforcement, and biology.

Three Quinault vessels piloted the program in 2014. One year later, the whole Quinault fleet is sporting Ecotrust Canada’s EM boxes, and they’re hoping non-Native commercial crab fishermen will join them in their push for greater transparency and accountability.

Learn more about our Electronic Monitoring program here.

Fisheries monitoring may seem like an odd pursuit for a charity, but this work has proven again and again to fit the mission of Ecotrust Canada. Not only is accurate and timely data collection an essential part of achieving environmental sustainability in the commercial industry, but working as a third party to industry and regulators allows the sharing of information regarding resource health with all users.

Through our work with fishermen in coastal communities, we’ve realized that developing locally-based fisheries monitoring programs is a prime opportunity for improving local economic sustainability.


Community Benefit

Our industry, community, and First Nations partners highlighted a need for better fisheries infrastructure in coastal communities. Our Observer programs fit into our suite of locally-led monitoring, compliance, and traceability initiatives.

Community-based Observer monitoring brings a host of benefits, including:

  • Providing employment for local residents
  • Building local fisheries expertise
  • Building local capacity to engage with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in other monitoring, compliance, and traceability opportunities
  • Establishing a working relationship between DFO, First Nations, Industry, and local residents

To date, the majority of our Observer-based work has been in partnership with First Nations and other communities adjacent to fishing areas. These partnerships allow us to offer training programs and monitoring services throughout coastal BC, building a pool of locally-based Observers who can monitor the waters they know best.


Industry Benefit

Typical Observer monitoring programs can cost a fisherman tens of thousands of dollars each season – a real make-or-break expense for a struggling enterprise. By employing local Observers, fishermen:

  • Don’t have to pay for technicians to be flown in
  • Keep money in their own communities
  • Build local industry support
  • Keep local fisheries knowledge alive and well


At-Sea Observer Program

We are a DFO-designated At-Sea Observer Program service provider for BC’s salmon and crab fisheries. Our Observers come from the communities on whose doorsteps the fishery operates. All Observers are trained and DFO-certified.


Dockside Monitoring Program

We are also a DFO-designated Dockside Monitoring Program service provider for BC’s salmon and crab fisheries. As with our at-sea program, our dockside Observers are fully trained, DFO-certified, and hail from nearby communities.



Biosampling services may be added to any monitoring program as needed. All of our at-sea Observers are trained to collect biological samples if the monitoring program requires it.

This Improved Forest Management project is situated on a 33,018 hectare crown forest tenure around Whistler, on the traditional territories of the Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation, a landscape enjoyed by millions of locals, British Columbians, and international visitors each year.

Offsets On Offer /

The Project has approximately 12,500 carbon offsets available for purchase through Brinkman Climate at $25 tonne until May 31st, 2015. These offsets are from the project’s first verification period (2009-2013), issued in Spring 2015. They are verified to the BC Emission Offsets Regulation using the BC Forest Carbon Offset Protocol, and are certified for use under the BC Government’s Carbon Neutral Public Service regulation.

Improved Forest Management Carbon Offsets

All major carbon standards around the world include tools for creating forest carbon offsets. British Columbia’s Emission Offsets Regulation creates a particularly effective pathway for generating offsets through Improved Forest Management (IFM). By improving harvests and resource management, we can keep more carbon sequestered over a longer-term.
Recognizing the desire to manage forests better than “business as usual,” the Cheakamus Community Forest (CCF) partnered with Brinkman Group and Ecotrust Canada to design an offset project in order to fund the implementation of an Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) plan – critical to allowing EBM activities to take place.

Old Growth, Small Blocks, Buffers, and Habitat

The Project uses the following four IFM approaches through its EBM plan:

  • Increased representation of old and mature forests in specific ecosystems within the tenure area over time, maintenance of a full range of stand structures, ages, species, and ecosystems
  • Enhanced logging prescriptions which protect scenic vistas in the magnificent forests around Whistler with smaller cut blocks (1-5 hectares in size) and preserving older structural components of the ecosystem within harvested areas
  • Increased buffers within specified high ecological value areas, such as cultural and riparian areas
  • Protection of important wildlife habitat

All of this with the goal of achieving an appropriate balance between timber harvesting, tourism, cultural values, recreation, wildlife, and biodiversity.

Validation and Verification

The project has been registered under the British Columbia Forest Carbon Offset Protocol (FCOP). The forest carbon emission reductions were achieved by reducing baseline harvest by 50% while remaining a source of sustainable livelihoods in the region. Without the successful sale of offsets, the CCF would not be able to afford the halving of revenue and more expensive EBM logging practices – leading to the forest tenure reverting back to the Province or going back to business as usual practices.


The Cheakamus Community Forest Society is a forest tenure partnership between the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Squamish Nation, and Lil’wat Nation.

Community Forest Agreements are long-term area-based tenures designed to encourage community involvement in the management of local forests for the benefit of the community. More and more communities are considering alternative ways to manage their adjacent forest resources to maximize economic, social, and environmental benefits to their region. The CCF is both the first carbon offset project completed on a British Columbia Forest tenure and a Community Forest tenure in Canada.

How it Works

The Project reduces GHG emissions by approximately 10,000 tonnes CO2e/year through avoided and modified forestry practices laid out under the CCF Ecosystem-Based Management Plan. Actions go beyond regulatory requirements and adjacent land management practices, and could not be sustained without offset revenue. The additional funding pays for improved forest monitoring, conserving areas, smaller cut blocks, improved recreational opportunities, and implementing fire and climate mitigation strategies. Project design is further guided by the principles of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®), an independent, not for profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.

“The carbon project plays an important role in maintaining and enhancing the recreation and tourism values in the area.”

Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden of Whistler

“This work supports the vision of the Squamish Nation to continue to maintain our resources and cultural practices for our little ones’ future little ones.”

Chief Ian Campbell, Squamish Nation

“This additional tool allows the Lil’wat Nation a way to balance protecting culturally important areas and serves our people today and for future generations.”

Chief Dean Nelson, Lil’wat Nation

Whistler Going Carbon Neutral

The Resort Municipality of Whistler is offsetting its annual carbon footprint by purchasing offsets from the Cheakamus Community Forest project. The Brinkman Group and Ecotrust Canada are also buying voluntary offsets from the project. The companies’ carbon footprints have been measured through Climate Smart, a social enterprise which helps businesses measure and reduce their environmental impacts while cutting costs.

“A lot of work has gone into this initiative. The sale of carbon offsets is a creative way for our community forest to generate income and place a value on our sustainable forestry practices, which have resulted in a reduced harvest level with considerably more emphasis on tourism, cultural values, recreational interests, wildlife, and biodiversity.”

Jeff Fisher, Chair, Cheakamus Community Forest Society

“The CCF core climate action idea is ‘Improved Forest Management.’ Carbon credits inject new funds and enable more sustainable forest management.”

Dirk Brinkman, CEO, Brinkman Group

In many North American cities, gentrification of inner city neighbourhoods threatens to dislocate people who have come to rely on these communities for less expensive housing and concentrated service accessibility – creating urban planning, service delivery and economic development challenges of the highest order.

Nowhere in Canada is this more apparent than in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where some of the poorest neighbourhoods in the country are juxtaposed against some of the wealthiest. Weakened by the stress of abject poverty, Vancouver’s inner city is under enormous pressure from private development and is struggling to withstand the accompanying forces of gentrification and displacement. Concerns are mounting that as development progresses, local residents and economies are seeing few benefits.

To reduce these pressures, there is a growing desire to explore alternative types of economic development. Local economies in particular have the potential to revitalize the social and cultural health of inner city neighbourhoods.

The Local Economic Development Lab (LEDlab) is a place-based initiative which will generate, implement, and scale innovative community-designed and -driven ideas for a vibrant and inclusive local economy in Vancouver’s inner city. Delivered jointly by Ecotrust Canada and RADIUS SFU, the Lab is designed to help community organizations, local governments, and civil society work together to drive forward implementation of the community economic development policies set forth in the Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan.

LEDlab will enable new cross-cutting mechanisms that encourage the co-creation of solutions that support inner city residents in improving their economic independence. This method will disrupt the historically siloed approaches of service providers, funders, and entrepreneurs for creating social impact in the DTES in favour of a collaborative and place-based model for economic development – one that can serve as an example in cities around the world.

We will work with community stakeholders to identify current challenges and potential solutions, then apply them in a rapid prototyping/assessment model. The Lab will provide 30 paid, full-time internship opportunities over three years for graduate students from across the country to supply research and prototyping support. By documenting and sharing our work – both successes and failures – we hope to advance the fields of social innovation and economic development.



Visit LEDlab.ca


RADIUS SFU and Ecotrust Canada have committed the next three years to stimulating community economic development in Vancouver’s inner city. RADIUS (RADical Ideals Useful to Society) is a social innovation lab and venture incubator based at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business. Formed to help SFU and BC step forward as leaders in building the New Economy, RADIUS’s mandate is to strengthen impact-focused businesses and the ecosystem that supports them, develop and test new ideas for an economy that prioritizes people and planet, and build a pipeline of emerging social economy leaders.

Kiri Bird
Program Manager, Ecotrust Lab @RADIUS

The Amp – its name inspired by our location in the old BC Electric Building – is a coworking space anchored by Ecotrust Canada. The Amp’s mission is to offer supportive, affordable, creative space for organizations and individuals working towards positive change. Our space is ideal for those who would like to connect and collaborate with like-minded people.

Twenty One organizations currently call The Amp home, with space for a few more:



Other Services

Office Space

Whether you’re part of a team or flying solo, The Amp has a place for you. We offer all the typical office amenities plus a friendly community vibe.

Event Space

Hold your next meeting or gathering in a beautiful renovation of one of Vancouver’s grandest heritage buildings. And conveniently located near the Stadium-Chinatown Skytrain station, we’re just a hop, skip, and a jump from downtown Vancouver.


For More Information

Visit TheAmpVancouver.ca for desk rentals and room rates.


Say Hello!

Nicola Parr
Coworking Community Manager

In 2012 we began working with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI), The Nature Conservancy, and the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association (MCFA) to adapt our existing electronic monitoring (EM) equipment and services for the New England groundfish fishery.

Our goal is to operationalize and refine our EM system to the point that it could either support or replace the US National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) At-Sea Monitor program. If local fishing regulations and program requirements can be easily integrated into current EM technology, the switch to EM could represent a significant cost savings for a struggling industry.

In Year 1, we adapted our EM software and hardware for use on gillnetters and trawlers and sent the system out for trial runs on two MCFA boats. In Year 2 we expanded our trial to seven vessels, collecting a wealth of information on the fleet’s technical needs. Moving into Year 3, we will be exploring further system adaptations based on proposed regulatory changes and pursuing NMFS approval as a designated service provider.

Most EM systems are cost-prohibitive for smaller fishing operations. Seeing the need for a more cost-effective alternative, we developed a system that can be adapted for almost any fishery, with the goal of improving communities’ ability to pursue environmentally and economically sustainable livelihoods.

Our EM system enables more affordable, effective management of fisheries large and small – collecting high quality data, supporting collaborative fisheries management, engaging fishermen in reporting fishing activity and stock status, and promoting socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable fishing communities around the world.



Multiple components form a sensor network on each boat.


Typical installation for an EM system on a vessel with gillnet gear


Global warming is everybody’s business. That’s why Ecotrust Canada launched a business subsidiary that helps enterprises turn an environmental problem into a business opportunity.

Climate Smart is a cost-effective service providing small- and medium-sized enterprises with three streamlined workshops to teach you to measure, reduce and offset your carbon footprint. Climate Smart also offers four hours of one-on-one technical assistance by telephone and user-friendly software designed specifically to help you track your business’ greenhouse gas emissions.

In June 2009, Ecotrust Canada launched its Climate Smart program as a business subsidiary. For more information, visit www.climatesmartbusiness.com.

Ecotrust Canada is Climate Smart certified.

ThisForest works with businesses across the forestry sector to track forest products back to their forest of origin. It is a traceability system that injects transparency into the forest product supply chain, providing consumers with knowledge on how their products, ranging from log homes to mushrooms, move from the forest of origin into their hands.

A combination of factors including: the success of ThisFish; growing consumer demand to know more about our purchase decisions; and good industry support led Ecotrust Canada to develop a traceability system for forest products. ThisForest traces a range of products from forest of origin to the marketplace, detailing the people, places and practices that bring food, furniture, homes and more to consumers all over the world.

Like ThisFish, ThisForest provides businesses with a unique and engaging way to personalize the story of their products for the consumer. It serves as both an effective form of supply chain management and as a marketing tool, increasing brand awareness, affinity and referrals. Additionally, ThisForest has been designed with the intention of helping businesses to meet the increasingly strict international export legislation on wood products.

A successful beta stage test is currently underway, and receiving great industry support from businesses, organizations and consumers across British Columbia and internationally.

How ThisForest works

ThisForest leverages systems already in place, including timber marks, weigh bills and inter-company invoices, to verifiably track products back to the forest of origin with a clean paper trail. This ensures the cost-effectiveness of business involvement, and the authenticity of the traces.


Ecotrust Canada’s proprietary traceability technology leverages the successfully tested and operated data management platform from ThisFish. It has been customized for forestry through a process of co-designed with leaders in the industry to ensure its scalability, versatility, cost-effectiveness and viability for forest products.

Who ThisForest is for

ThisForest provides authentic, trustworthy information about products, giving utility for businesses and consumers alike. Businesses wishing to better manage their supply chain and tell the story of their products in an innovative and engaging way to the marketplace benefit from involvement with ThisForest. Equal benefit is found by consumers concerned with the origin and sustainability of the products they purchase.

Forestry Industry Affiliations

Cesefor Foundation (Spain)

British Columbia Community Forest Association 

BC Log & Timber Building Industry Association

International Model Forest Network 

BC Wood

Private Landowners Association



To achieve, and balance, ecological resilience and ongoing human wellbeing, we must change the way people view their forest lands and take control of forest land management, encouraging the adoption of ecosystem based forestry management (EBM). New tenure models are needed to create innovation in the system, models which ensure that true financial, environmental and social costs are factored into decisions.

With this in mind, our work in the forestry sector aims to:

  • Introduce the concept that forest management must be about more than timber management;
  • Prove that managing for multiple values on a large landscape level is a better business model;
  • Promote Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) certification and forest of origin traceability;
  • Promote new tenure models.

Enabling ecosystem based management means taking a holistic approach to forestry, through finding viable alternatives and creating streams of revenue from a range of forest resources that collectively make a viable business for the land or tenure holder.

Activities to this end include:

  • Modelling the anticipated business and ecological impact of managing for multiple ecosystem values – carbon, water, recreation, non-timber forest products (NTFP) – on existing tenures, and demonstrating, over time, how it works;
  • Working with forest land holders and managing tenures;
  • Working with First Nation communities to help design a forestry model and tenure that better addresses their interests;
  • Growing our group FSC® certification program for smaller tenure holders and chain of custody businesses;
  • Engaging with and promoting community forest tenures;
  • Creating public awareness and consumer pressure through the Thisforest traceability program;
  • Writing about our ideas, including within policy arenas.

What is EBM, exactly?

To understand our work in EBM, it is first necessary to define what EBM is. Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) is an adaptive management approach to managing human activities that seeks to ensure the coexistence of healthy, fully functioning ecosystems (be they forest, land or water-based) and healthy human communities. The intent is to maintain ecosystems in such a way that indigenous species and ecological processes can be sustained while supporting, even improving, human well-being.

EBM acknowledges the role of humans as an integral part of the ecosystem, and alterations to ecosystems are accepted as necessary to produce the things that people value. Human uses and alterations must, however, be within the limits of what the ecosystem can produce and sustain without loss of diversity or functions. The main concept of EBM is to manage for associated organisms instead of individual species, placing more emphasis on what is left behind before deciding what to remove. To achieve this, EBM uses science-based decision making, traditional and local knowledge, engagement of community members, on-going monitoring, and adaptive planning.

Our work in EBM

Ecotrust Canada has, for a number of years, been working on developing alternative business models for forest lands on both private lands and Crown lands, where multiple revenue streams are investigated as an option to move away from a complete reliance on timber harvesting. To do this, we consider the existing ownership, land base, and forest cover on traditionally managed lands and look at the potential future timber harvest and alternative resource options, with a view to both long and short term needs and potential.

From this assessment, we work to identify potential locations of forest that could be
managed under a multiple resource scenario to build biodiversity and landscape values that will complement a focus on community development. Then, working on a foundation of some agreed upon scenario of timber harvesting, biodiversity protection and alternative resource development, we model forward timber and carbon flows along with other resource values to provide data to base economic assessment upon. Strategies vary depending on the specific land parcels, but revolve around low intensity timber harvesting focused on value creation and ecosystem goods and services, including:

  • forest carbon offsets or bio-fuel supply through wood waste;
  • conservation covenants;
  • non-timber forest products;
  • recreation and education opportunities;
  • low impact, sustainable residential development.

The objective is to build long term sustain-able revenue flows which are less impacted by market fluctuations and more able to take advantage of favourable situations ithout negatively impacting future options. With a team of professional foresters on staff and a wide range of associates and partners available for specific technical help, we are well-equipped to work through any activities needed in turning EBM into the go-to approach to forest management.

Where we work

We engage with people in the places where they live to design and demonstrate new ways of doing business – be it in small scale forestry, the commercial fishery, housing development or land and marine use planning. No two projects look alike, but the formula is always the same: to get optimum value from resource use, to allow communities to participate in decisions, and to increase the social and cultural benefits of economic growth. To achieve this, simultaneously creating systems change, we work from the ground up, and with problem-solving as a primary principle.

More than this, it is the mandate of Ecotrust Canada to focus on projects that are scalable. We focus our attention at the local and regional scale, where individuals, systems and institutions are best positioned to assess what is not currently working, and inform the process of discovering what might. Speaking specifically to our work in ecosystem based forestry management, we believe strongly that a successful working model in Clayoquot for ecosystem services and cultural management will have a wide appeal and application throughout the province. Our work with the Clayoquot Nations on the Qwii-Qwiq-Sap ‘Standing Tree to Standing Home’ project, which aims to maximize the potential of community forests for local use, and develop skills and training for a local workforce, perfectly demonstrates this approach, as well as the integrated nature of an ecosystem based forestry management process.

Another example is our work on Vancouver Island and the lower mainland on a number of properties to investigate forest carbon offset potential. The result of this offers a strong indication that carbon can be an important asset.

Looking forward

In an ongoing collaboration with the Clayoquot First Nations and Iisaak Forest Resources, we are carrying out the next steps in understanding alternative values on the land base of Tree Farm Licence 54 (TFL54). We will collaborate with a timber supply analyst to create a baseline from which we can work to model alternative future management scenarios. This work is ongoing in early 2012.

Progress is also being made in Whistler with the Cheakamus Community Forest (CCF), where we have prepared a feasibility study for a carbon project. We are working on a final confirmation of feasibility – seeking verification that the province will pass carbon offset revenues on to Community Forests – before starting work on the real analysis. The aim is to have carbon credits available to sell to the municipality by mid-2012, allowing the community to meet their carbon neutral obligations under the local government legislation.

On Vancouver Island, we are moving forward in discussions with a number of First Nations who seek to understand values on their traditional territories in regards to treaty settlements and future community development. Our work with these groups aims to help them identify lands within their territory for future negotiations based on a solid understanding of forestry and natural resource values.


BC’s big resource extraction industries need to look for other ways to do business. As a leader in promoting ecosystem-based management on the BC coast, Ecotrust Canada is uniquely positioned to help them find, and embrace, these ways. Based on over 15 years of engagement in forestry, our team of Registered Professional Foresters and technical solutions experts are already working with communities to design new business approaches that help those communities profit sustainably from the wealth of our coastal rainforests. It is our hope that the work we are doing with people in place will serve as a blueprint for communities facing similar issues in the province and beyond.