The UN General Assembly has made a unanimous decision to start negotiations to establish an international, legally-binding instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity within Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ). However, there has of yet been little discussion on the importance of this move to the ecosystem services provided by coastal zones in their downstream zone of influence. Here, we identify the ecological connectivity between ABNJ and coastal zones as critically important in the negotiation process and apply several approaches to identify some priority areas for protection from the perspective of coastal populations of Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Initially, we review the scientific evidence that demonstrates ecological connectivity between ABNJ and the coastal zones with a focus on the LDCs. We then use ocean modelling to develop a number of metrics and spatial maps that serve to quantify the connectivity of the ABNJ to the coastal zone. We find that the level of exposure to the ABNJ influences varies strongly between countries. Similarly, not all areas of the ABNJ are equal in their impacts on the coastline. Using this method, we identify the areas of the ABNJ that are in the most urgent need of protection on the grounds of the strength of their potential downstream impacts on the coastal populations of LDCs. We argue that indirect negative impacts of the ABNJ fishing, industrialisation and pollution, communicated via oceanographic, cultural and ecological connectivity to the coastal waters of the developing countries should be of concern.
Governance and Legal Frameworks
Marine aquaculture is a rapidly growing industry that presents both opportunities and risks for the environment and society. Whether aquatic farming (bivalves and finfish) in the ocean can mitigate food security concerns and be done without significant ecological impact depends in large part on the governance infrastructure of the sector. This study assesses the relationships at the nation-state level between existing aquaculture policy determined by survey and literature review, indicators of the quality of governance, and assessments of the ecological potential for highly productive aquaculture. The possible socio-ecological implications of Blue Growth for nations around the world are then discussed. There are numerous unexploited opportunities for countries, like those in the Pacific and Caribbean, with good governance and growth potential to pursue marine aquaculture, particularly to potentially alleviate local food security concerns. In comparison, countries already producing marine aquaculture do not have the most biologically suitable waters (e.g., China), but are more closely aligned with private capital – showing production is clearly possible, but may be less sustainable or optimal. Notably, many countries active in the marine aquaculture space appear to have some level of associated regulation and environmental oversight, but appear to lack clear frameworks for emerging growth in the sector, particularly offshore production. This study provides one of the first global evaluations of sustainable aquaculture potential under current governance, policy, and capital patterns.
This article explores the prospects for adaptive governance in a proposed marine transboundary conservation initiative in East Africa. Adaptive governance that involves interdependent state and non-state actors learning and taking action on joint environmental problems is suggested for effective transboundary resource governance. Using the concept of adaptive co-management, the current multi-stakeholder marine governance systems in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania are compared to illuminate opportunities and constraints for adaptive marine transboundary conservation governance between Kenya and Tanzania. The concept of networks and the formal method of social network analysis (SNA) are applied as the main methodological device. Using questionnaire and semi-structured interviews, social network data of 70 organizations (local resources users, government agencies and NGOs) was generated from Kenya (n = 33) and Tanzania (n = 37). Results show the existence of strong collaboration networks for marine resource governance in both Kenya and Tanzania. Social proximity is the common driver of network formation. Collaboration networks in Kenya and Tanzania have contributed to enhanced learning among marine resource managers. Conclusions point to the need to focus on common challenges relating to low levels of rule-compliance, limited access to information on the state of resources and poor integration of science into marine management decisions. Finally, differences in views regarding the state of marine ecosystems need to be addressed to improve prospects for joint problem-solving in marine transboundary conservation.
The modern-day reinvigoration of individual Indigenous nations around the world is connected to broader simultaneous movements of Indigenous nationhood worldwide. The origins, implications, philosophies, and diversities of Indigenous resurgences and resistances continue to be discussed in the growing body of literature on Indigenous governance. This article builds on these discussions by focusing on the applied tools and strategies of Indigenous resurgence. In the context of the Pacific herring fishery in British Columbia, Canada, this research explores the strategies and tools used by three Indigenous coastal nations to apply pressure on the colonial government to abdicate its asserted authority over herring governance. Motivated by a time-honored relationship to herring, we discuss how these Indigenous nations have strategized to try to regain authority over herring governance to protect species and Indigenous access to the fishery. We then discuss this ocean-based resurgence in the context of global Indigenous movements for the reassertion of self-determining authority.
Ocean acidification (OA) is a major emergent stressor of marine ecosystems with global implications for biodiversity conservation, sustainable development and economic prosperity. International action is imperative for addressing it. This paper builds a science-based governing framework, identifying three overarching policy objectives and six areas for action that should be pursued so as to minimise this global problem. No unifying OA treaty or legal instrument with the explicit task of addressing OA currently exists and it looks highly unlikely that any will eventuate. A more pragmatic approach is to use existing multilateral agreements. However, taking on OA as a unified problem seems to be beyond the scope of existing agreements, due to structural limitations and the willingness of Parties. Given this, it is more likely that OA will be addressed by a network of agreements, each responding to discrete elements of the problem of OA within their capabilities. However, it is unclear how existing MEA capabilities extend to addressing OA. This paper therefore offers an analytical framework through existing governance structures can be explored for their capabilities to respond to OA.
Implementing a governance transformation entails the creation of a new institutional system when ecological, economic, or social structures make the existing system untenable. It involves building capacities, establishing viable formal and informal institutions, and triggering major societal changes. Early assessments (EAs) provide a mechanism to fine-tune and support institutional learning processes, which are needed to provide legitimacy and political acceptability of transformational change. We performed an EA of a governance transformation aimed at implementing ecosystem-based, multilevel participatory fisheries management in Chile. We performed individual interviews and workshops and synthesized existing reports to assess the main challenges of the institutionalization of the new policy. Results showed that successful implementation of the governance transformation would need to address key issues related to building trust and improving transparency, including clear protocols for cocreating knowledge and securing resources and capacities. The EA allowed us to define specific recommendations associated with legal reforms, issuing of new executive orders to clarify implementation, and improvement in operational standards by government agencies. EAs provide a fundamental tool that helps build legitimacy and sustainability of new governance systems. They bring a sense of reality, informed by social science, that allows us to understand progress in the implementation of governance transformations, by identifying rigidities that fail to accommodate emerging realities.
The conceptual framework of evolutionary governance theory (EGT) is deployed and extended to rethink the idea of coastal governance and the possibilities of a coastal governance better adapted to challenges of climate change and intensified use of both land and sea. ‘The coastal condition’ is analyzed as a situation where particular modes of observation and coordination were possible and necessary, and those observations (and derived calculations of risk and opportunity) are valuable for the governance of both land and an argument is constructed for a separate arena for coastal governance, without erasing the internal logic of pre-existing governance for land and sea. This entails that coastal governance is destined to be a place of (productive) conflict, as much as of policy integration. Policy integration will be more difficult and more important in coastal governance, as this is an arena where the effects of many land based activities and activities at sea become visible and entangled. Policy integration in coastal governance does however require deep knowledge of the governance path and existing forms of integration there (e.g. in planning), and it exists in an uneasy tension with the requirements of adaptive governance. This tension further contributes to the complexity and complex-prone character of coastal governance. Neither complexity nor conflict can be avoided, and coastal governance as an image of balanced decision-making is (positively) presented as a productive fiction.
This article examines the various requirements for the exercise by a State of its enforcement jurisdiction to investigate instances of fisheries crime and its adjudicative jurisdiction to try fisheries crime cases. In the process, the jurisdictional bases available are identified, the extent of the powers available are determined and concrete examples provided. It concludes that the international law rules governing State jurisdiction over fisheries crime at sea do not place any insurmountable obstacle to the criminalisation, investigation and adjudication of acts of transnational organised fisheries crime. What is needed is a more positive attitude towards the complexities of State ocean jurisdiction and the existing scope of the States’ duties towards the marine environment, and the marine living resources more specifically.
Ensuring productive and sustainable fisheries involves understanding the complex interactions between biology, environment, politics, management and governance. Fisheries are faced with a range of challenges, and without robust and careful management in place, levels of anthropogenic disturbance on ecosystems and fisheries are likely to have a continuous negative impact on biodiversity and fish stocks worldwide. Fisheries management agencies, therefore, need to be both efficient and effective in working towards long-term sustainable ecosystems and fisheries, while also being resilient to political and socioeconomic pressures. Marine governance, i.e., the processes of developing and implementing decisions over fisheries, often has to account for socioeconomic issues (such as unemployment and business developments) when they attract political attention and resources. This paper addresses the challenges of (1) identifying the main issues in attempting to ensure the sustainability of fisheries, and (2) how to bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and governance of marine systems. Utilising data gained from a survey of marine experts from 34 nations, we found that the main challenges perceived by fisheries experts were overfishing, habitat destruction, climate change and a lack of political will. Measures suggested to address these challenges did not demand any radical change, but included extant approaches, including ecosystem-based fisheries management with particular attention to closures, gear restrictions, use of individual transferable quotas (ITQs) and improved compliance, monitoring and control.