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The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Marine spatial planning (MSP) aims to organize the use of marine space in a way that balances demands for development with the need to protect ocean ecosystems. By allocating specific human activities to particular areas, MSP can help reduce user conflicts (when there is spatial overlap among uses) as well as conflicts between uses and important natural areas.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

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

Monitoring a variety of ecological and socioeconomic indicators is essential to planning and measuring the effectiveness of EBM. Some useful tools exist to help develop monitoring plans, including:

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

UK passes Marine and Coastal Access Act

In November, the UK passed the Marine and Coastal Access Act, establishing a wide-ranging policy to enhance protection of the marine environment, improve fisheries management, and allow for easier coastal access. The Act also lays the framework for developing a national marine planning system that will set priorities and guide managers in the sustainable use and protection of marine resources.

Specifically, the Act prescribes the following measures, among others:

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

In the two years that MEAM has been published, the most common questions from readers have related to terminology. Namely readers have wondered about the distinctions between ecosystem-based management and other resource management terms that have gained favor at different times in various places - like ecosystem approach to management, or integrated coastal management. A Google search of these terms will yield multiple definitions for each, with enough overlap to blur the distinctions.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

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.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

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.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

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.

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