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Our Story

Advancing science & innovation in marine decision-making

COINAtlantic, formerly known as the Atlantic Coastal Zone Information Steering Committee (ACZISC), was established in 1992 by the Council of Maritime Premiers as a neutral forum for information sharing and collaboration between government agencies, university researchers, and civil society to benefit the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Management (ICOM) community of practice in the four provinces of Atlantic Canada.


COINAtlantic sits on Ecology Action Centre's Atlantic Eelgrass Working Group in support of open exchange of seagrass data and information.

The Challenge

Coastal and ocean data and information are collected by many people and organizations in Canada. Indigenous peoples have been observing and stewarding the oceans for thousands of years.

In more recent years, others have started collecting ocean data, including governments (federal, provincial and municipal), the private sector, research institutions, coastal communities, and non-governmental organizations.


Different ways of collecting data have included personal observations, sensors that measure temperature, oxygen and light, to underwater acoustic and imaging data, marine communication and navigation, to robotics, and more. 

While progress has been made in using data to describe and understand ocean ecosystems, datasets are often scattered across personal computers and storage devices, filing cabinets, or open data portals, with different levels of access.

There is a real need to increase efficient and timely ways to discover, share, and access coastal and ocean data. 

Data and information that are not made publicly accessible contributes to:

  • information gaps

  • wasted time through duplicated research efforts

  • missed opportunities for collaboration

  • preventing ability to detect environmental change sooner

Management effectiveness is weakened by costly decision-making processes, when unable to easily discover what data exists — access it in a timely manner — and integrate datasets from different sources.


We can no longer afford to keep missing opportunities to better coordinate coastal and ocean activities and protect and conserve our valuable and limited marine resources on which we depend.

A number of recent initiatives have been launched that help Canadian researchers, NGOs, governments and others to appreciate the value of open data, and provide them with the tools and resources to learn how to share data effectively. This includes the Portage Network, and the Canadian Integrated Ocean Observing System (CIOOS) (pronounced sea-use).

A collaborative and integrated approach to coastal & ocean spatial planning

COINAtlantic was created in 2008 by the ACZISC to develop web-based tools that facilitate the discovery and visualization of coastal and ocean spatial geospatial data. This work was possible largely through funding from the Natural Resources Canada GeoConnections Program and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

The goal of the GeoConnections program was to develop, apply, and sustain a network of data providers and users that support reliable access to data, information, and tools for advancing ICOM in Atlantic Canada. GeoConnections supported initiatives that developed and grew Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI) by enhancing the discovery, access, mapping, and sharing of geospatial data and information.

In 2016, as part of the 25th Anniversary Organizational Celebrations, the ACZISC was officially rebranded as COINAtlantic.

COINAtlantic works with decision-makers, stakeholders and rightsholders across all sectors to transform the way we work and collaborate to address coastal and ocean issues and opportunities.

Examples of integration include coordination of coastal policy between local, provincial, and federal governing bodies, the inclusion of coastal waters into land-use planning, and integrating scientific research, public opinion, economic and environmental interests in decisions regarding the coast.

Our goal is to find better ways to collaborate and innovate to share coastal and ocean information to address these issues and meet these opportunities. 

Visit our About Us page to learn more about who we are and what we do. 

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Collaborate With Us
Interested in collaborating with the COINAtlantic team? 
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