As with new concepts in virtually any field - particularly ideas that involve change from the status quo - misconceptions exist about marine ecosystem-based management and marine spatial planning (MSP). These misconceptions, held by practitioners and stakeholders alike, pose obstacles to implementation. Below, authors of two new publications describe some of the most common misunderstandings they have encountered on MSP and EBM, and how they respond to each.
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In the Western Pacific, the archipelagic nation of Fiji includes more than 800 high islands, cays, and islets. Holding roughly 4% of all coral reefs in the world, Fiji includes the third-longest barrier reef on Earth - the Great Sea Reef, or Cakau Levu. Most of the country's population of 945,000 people live along the coast, and many rely on the sea's resources for food and income. Fijian lifestyles, history, and customs - including the traditional use of tabu areas in Fijian resource management - all reflect the islanders' relationship with the sea.
Risk plays a role in any situation where decisions must be made based on uncertain information. In finance, for example, investors must often choose between putting their money in a bank account with a low but guaranteed interest rate, or in a stock that may yield high returns but also has a chance of losing all value. The amount of risk that the investors are willing to accept is called risk tolerance. Inversely, the amount of risk the investors are unwilling to accept is called risk aversion. Both considerations affect investors' decision-making.
By Tundi Agardy, MEAM Contributing Editor. E-mail: tundiagardy [at] earthlink.net
Editor's note: The goal of The EBM Toolbox is to promote awareness of tools for facilitating EBM processes. It is brought to you by the EBM Tools Network (www.ebmtools.org), a voluntary alliance of tool users, developers, and training providers.
By Sarah Carr
US interagency task force releases proposal for new national ocean policy
In 2006, a strain of E. coli bacteria contaminated fresh spinach from California's Salinas Valley, the main growing region for leafy green vegetables in the U.S. It is unknown how the bacterium came in contact with the spinach, but it led to a national outbreak of E. coli-related illness. Nearly 200 people across the country became sick.
A report released last May provides the framework for future ecosystem-based planning on and around Addu Atoll in the Indian Ocean nation of Maldives. Addu is the second-most populous atoll in the Maldivian archipelago, which encompasses 26 atolls and more than a thousand islands and islets. The report Framework for an Ecosystem-Based Management Plan for Addu Atoll, Republic of Maldives was co-developed by the Government of the Maldives and the University of Queensland (Australia), with funding from the Australian and New Zealand overseas aid programs.
By Tundi Agardy (tundiagardy [at] earthlink.net), Contributing Editor, MEAM
Where are some of the most exciting new efforts in EBM being practiced? My answer may surprise you. Namibia. It is a country that has not trumpeted a claim of doing EBM, but seems well on the way to comprehensive and integrative management.