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The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Marine ecosystems are complex. Despite advances in our understanding over the past century, much remains a mystery about the linkages among species, habitats, and oceanographic factors. Thus, in managing the ocean, uncertainty is unavoidable. Policy makers and managers must make decisions despite incomplete data, imperfect models, and scientific disagreement. To account for this uncertainty, an adaptive approach is necessary: policy decisions are monitored to gauge their effectiveness, then altered as necessary to reflect what has been learned.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Recent issues of MEAM covered the central role of science in EBM, including whether science should drive the process or just inform it (MEAM 4:1, 4:2). What was not addressed is what should drive or inform the science. Everyone, including scientists, holds particular biases: pro-conservation, pro-industry, etc. And these biases, if not controlled, can affect the science generated to support EBM. The result is a mix of science and advocacy.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Webinar: Real Steps toward EBM along the West Coast of the US

Date: 13 January 2011
Time: 1:00-2:30 p.m. EST (6:00-7:30 p.m. GMT)

MEAM and the EBM Tools Network are co-hosting a live webinar with lessons on real-world EBM implementation from the West Coast EBM Network, which connects local EBM efforts in the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Speakers will include the network coordinator and representatives from initiatives in the network.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

For ecosystem-based management (EBM) to be successful, science is needed to understand the natural system, social system, and governance system - as well as how each one interacts with the others. EBM, at its core, is policy based on scientific evidence and knowledge. The more robust the evidence and knowledge, the more robust the policy can be.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Dear MEAM,

Your August/September 2010 issue provides an excellent summary of the appropriate use of science in planning and management. It might surprise you that we used the methodologies so well described by Leanne Fernandes and Tundi Agardy in the original planning of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Those same methodologies are also outlined in IUCN's Guidelines for Marine Protected Areas.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

In July, President Obama signed an executive order establishing a national ocean policy for the US (www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/oceans). The policy launches a process of coastal and marine spatial planning for the nation, carried out on a phased basis across nine regions (MEAM 4:1).

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