Table 2. Conceptual framework of case study 2: Saint Lawrence Estuary, eastern Canada.

Conceptual framework Saint Lawrence Estuary case study In the model
Social, economic, and political setting Government priorities and budget.
Laws and regulations (e.g., Species at Risk Act, Oceans Act).
Economical crisis affecting tourist demand.
Precautionary principle.
Free-enterprise principle.
Not represented in the model.

These contextual variables supported the need for such a model and affect managers’ room to maneuver in their decision making.

Resource system Sector: maritime and fluvial.
Boundaries: Active marine park and proposed marine protected area limits.
Size: 6000 km2.
Location: Saint Lawrence Estuary and Saguenay River, Quebec, Canada.
Modeled explicitly.

A set of the spatial environment’s physical attributes is modeled to account for important processes. Data availability also influenced modeling choices at the conceptualization stage.

Resource units Five whale species.
Mobility: yes
Number of units: species abundance highly variable.
Economic value: whale presence drives regional tourism.
Whale species spatial and temporal distribution: major driver of whale-watching boat dynamics.
Modeled explicitly.
Governance system Parks Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, supported and informed by NGOs and universities. Modeled indirectly via scenarios provided by the model end-user.

Rules of the 2002 regulations on maritime activities in the Marine Park are implemented in 3MTSim.
The model supports the testing of new management scenarios.

Users Whale watchers.
12 whale-watching companies.
59 commercial permits.
~10,000 excursions/y.
~300,000 whale-watching tourists/y.
7 to 800 passenger boats.
Modeled explicitly.

Companies', boats', and captains’ real characteristics are simulated.

Interactions Information sharing between captains (VHF radio).
Information sharing between companies and governing institutions.
Captain training (e.g., whale ecology, observation regulations) by Parks Canada and NGOs.
User conflicts.
Lobbying activities.
Regulations enforced by park wardens.
Whale observation on-board watching boats.
Boats–whale co-occurrences.
Whale social behaviors.
Core areas used by whales.
Modeled explicitly.

In the current version of the model, boats respond to boats, boats respond to whales, whales respond to whales, and whales do not respond to boats.

Outcomes Whale exposure to boats (ecological indicators).
Whale-watching excursions performance (indicators related to tourist satisfaction).
Modeled explicitly.

Since most excursions take place in the marine park dedicated to education and conservation, both social and ecological indicators are monitored in the model.

Related ecosystems Upstream and downstream connected ecosystems of the Saint Lawrence River.
Arctic ocean from where an important flow of cold water stems.
Climate change affecting water temperature and possibly system productivity.
Not represented in the model.