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The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

This past May at the International Marine Conservation Congress in Washington, D.C., there was a symposium on the progression of ocean management - from centuries of unregulated exploitation to today's increasingly ecosystem-based policies and use restrictions. Amid this discussion, a debate arose over conservation. That is, what role should conservation play in today's policy-making? In short, the debate was whether conservation should be considered a "use" of the oceans.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Marine protected areas (MPAs) can play an important role in promoting EBM in coastal seas, across ocean basins, and within large marine ecosystems. In working examples of EBM from around the world, the regulatory regimes that are able to move management from a single-species focus to a more holistic ecosystem focus are commonly embedded in protected areas. Examples of EBM that occur wholly within an MPA - from Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to Europe's Wadden Sea National Parks - are large-scale and integrative, considering many ecosystems in their management.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

By Jon Day
Director of Ecosystem Conservation and Sustainable Use, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Townsville, Australia. E-mail: j.day [at] gbrmpa.gov.au

Marine protected areas, especially large multiple-use areas like the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park on Australia's east coast, provide many lessons for marine managers on how to implement ecosystem-based management. However, MPAs are only part of the equation for EBM.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Editor's note: The goal of The EBM Toolbox is to promote awareness of software tools for facilitating EBM processes, and to provide advice on using those tools effectively. It is brought to you by the EBM Tools Network (www.ebmtools.org), a voluntary alliance of leading tool users, developers, and training providers.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Fisheries management is an important component of broader marine management, no matter the circumstances of place or the scale of EBM undertaken. But what is the relationship between ecosystem-based management in general and ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) in particular? Would it be better to think of EBFM as an entry point to EBM, or to consider EBM as a necessary prerequisite to effective EBFM?

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