Our People

Joanna Smith

Director Ocean Planning and Mapping, Global Oceans


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Joanna Smith Director of Ocean Planning and Mapping for Global Oceans Team and Nature United © Melody Charlie

Areas of Expertise

marine spatial planning, ocean conservation, biology

Media Contact

Jacqueline Nunes
ph. +1 416 526-7353


Joanna Smith is the Marine Spatial Planning Science Manager for Nature United, providing leadership for ocean use planning. Jo develops regional and national science-based marine plans and provides leadership to improve best practices and skills for practitioners. Previously, from 2011-2014, she was the Science Coordinator to the Marine Planning Partnership for the North Pacific Coast (MaPP) in British Columbia, a multi-objective planning process co-led by the Province of BC and 18 First Nations. From 2008-2011, Joanna worked as a marine ecologist and science supervisor at TNC, leading the science to support marine planning work on the Washington coast and numerous conservation projects including a Northeast Pacific Marine Ecoregional Assessment. Prior to this, from 1995-2008, she was a private consultant with Birdsmith Ecological Research, a company she founded for research, conservation, and education.

With more than 15 years of experience in natural resource management in several countries, Joanna’s work at Nature United includes partnering with all levels of government and collaborating with scientists, marine industries, and communities to develop or implement marine plans in Canada, US and around the world. Jo focuses on creating strong linkages between science, policy, economics, and culture to develop recommendations for decision makers and is consulted for advice from national governments, non-governmental organisations, First Nations, industry, managers, and scientists.

Jo received a Ph.D. in fisheries and aquatic sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle and Masters at University of Victoria, British Columbia. She is adjunct faculty at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia and lectures occasionally at colleges and universities. Jo has authored peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and technical reports on multiple topics including seabird ecology, fisheries bycatch, marine protected areas, and island restoration. She currently serves on science advisory committees for the SeaDoc Society and Laskeek Bay Conservation Society, and is on the Executive Council for Pacific Seabird Group. Joanna is a collaborator with Open Channels.

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