Governability is an important concept in the political and environmental social sciences with increasing application to socio-ecological systems such as fisheries. Indeed, governability analyses of fisheries and related systems such as marine-protected areas have generated innovative ways to implement sustainability ideals. Yet, despite progress made, we argue that there remain limitations in current conceptions of governability that hinder further analytical development and use. By drawing on general systems theory—specifically cybernetics, control and feedback—we interrogate the conceptual foundations that underpin two key limitations: the need to incorporate the numerous variables that comprise a complex, holistic system into a singular assessment of governability, and the a priori separation of the governor and the governed that precludes analysis of a self-governing situation. We argue that by highlighting the reciprocal nature of a governor–governed relationship and the co-produced understanding of governing capacity and objects, a relational approach to governability is possible. This offers a clearer and more pragmatic understanding of how governors and fishers can make fisheries governable.
Governance and Legal Frameworks
Ship’s ballast water has been a vector for the spreading of nonindigenous invasive species (NIS) around the globe for more than a century and has had devastating impact on aquatic ecosystems in many regions. Due to the harsh climate, shipping activities in Arctic waters have been limited compared to many parts of the world but will increase in the coming years due to climate changes. This will potentially affect the pristine Arctic marine ecosystems by introduction of NIS. In this chapter, we present the international ballast water regulations that have entered into force and the specific challenges of ballast water management in relation to the Arctic environment and marine ecosystems. We discuss the risk of NIS affecting the Arctic marine ecosystems including the impact of increased shipping activity, changes in living conditions of marine organisms because of climate changes and lack of knowledge of the eco-physiological boundaries and distributions of Arctic marine species. It is concluded that at present only a few marine NIS have been recorded in the Arctic area. Despite the existing and planned ballast water regulations, NIS establishment in the region will increase with an unknown magnitude due to lack of biological data.
The Arctic has been an integrated part of the international system for centuries, and systemic developments have deeply influenced the region and its communities. Central Arctic Ocean marine resource governance is in the nexus of climate change and international systemic developments. The international systemic context for the Arctic is: The rise of China and emerging Asian economies driving gradual power transition from Western to Eastern states. Struggles continue over the domestic order and international position of post-Soviet Russia, where either side considers whether to escalate the Ukraine crisis horizontally to the Arctic. The USA and China interact concerning governing Arctic marine resources as Arctic Ocean coastal state/status quo power and fishing nation/rising power. Russia and the West choose not to escalate the Ukraine crisis horizontally into Arctic marine resource management. Co-creating of knowledge and epistemic communities are important for Arctic status quo and rising Asian countries to manage power transition in the Arctic and for Russia and the West to continue Arctic cooperation despite political crisis elsewhere.
Future estimates indicate that the reduction of the Arctic ice cap will open up new areas and increase the viability of the region to be increasingly used for international shipping (Liu and Kronbak, J Trans Geo 18(3):434–444. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2009.08.004, 2010). The Arctic sea routes and related coastal area are therefore gaining increasing levels of interest, as they become a more attractive alternative for maritime transport. This demand for new infrastructure and development in areas where there has previously been little or none, presents a unique situation to analyze. The increased interest and demand for new development along Arctic sea routes through an environmentally sensitive region make the Arctic an ideal area of which to study the transition toward liquefied natural gas becoming the prominent marine fuel.
We must develop a better understanding of how and under what conditions such a transition will take place and who will make decisions that will influence any such transition. Exploring past and current aspects of maritime and energy governance is an important step in developing an understanding of how a transition towards liquefied natural gas could re-shape our understanding of Arctic governance.
Increasingly, marine renewable energy developments are viewed as an opportunity to meet climate change obligations, with the added benefit of powering the economy and the creation of jobs. Technical, economic and engineering challenges co-exist with governance challenges in the development of large-scale marine renewable energy projects. This paper addresses the question, if the prerequisites for sustainable project development are evident in selected case studies. It also asks what lessons can be learned from current practice in the context of energy governance at the local level. The authors argue that these lessons can be central enablers to support decision makers in future programmes, to better understand how to build the enabling conditions for programme implementation towards renewable energy at higher spatial scales of governance, importantly the national level. The study builds on a multiple stakeholder approach involving interviews and group discussions with key individuals from industry, government and civil society in emerging pilot programmes along the East Coast of the United States (U.S.). New policy windows were opening at the time of the analysis and ambitious development was underway by a range of actors who are driving progress in the sector and positioning the area to become a major provider of blue energy.
This chapter provides an overview of the various actors and institutions that play a role in the protection of the marine environment. These actors and institutions can be classified into three categories, namely (1) those that are established and operate within the law of the sea regime, (2) those that operate under the auspices of the United Nations and effectuate marine environmental objectives, and (3) those that operate within other specific regimes that interrelate with the oceans and send impulses which guide the direction of marine environmental governance. This chapter aspires to identify the various roles played by these diverse actors and institutions and examine how they interact with each other in striving to protect the marine environment.
This chapter provides an outlook on the future of sustainable ocean governance with a particular focus on environmental protection. It identifies fragmentation, knowledge gaps, lack of international cooperation and coordination, as well as ineffective enforcement as some of the pressing challenges. These will likely increase both quantitatively and qualitatively in the future, as new and emerging ocean uses will be added to the list of stressors. This chapter discusses a number of options for the improvement of marine environmental governance into the future.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have become recognized as important management tools for marine and coastal ecosystems in the last few decades. However, the theoretical underpinnings of MPA regimes have arguably not yet received sufficient attention. This paper attempts to remedy this by exploring how the Cultural Theory initiated by Dame Mary Douglas can provide a theoretical foundation for the current debates about the design of MPA regimes. It does so by firstly noting that the various types of MPA governance discussed in the literature correspond to the ways of organizing, perceiving and justifying social relations recognized in Cultural Theory. The article continues by setting out how Cultural Theory helps to explain when and why MPA regimes succeed or fail to reach their goals. In particular, the article highlights the practical importance of accommodating all ways of organizing and perceiving social relations in any MPA management plan. Finally, the paper suggests that further systematic, empirical work for assessing MPAs needs to be undertaken so as to corroborate the arguments advanced in this paper.
Environmental justice sheds light on the distributive and procedural aspects of planning and decision-making. We examined the challenges arising from the perspective of environmental justice on multi-level and participatory environmental governance by exploring the governance of aquatic environments in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. We found three main challenges and potential responses to them. First, even though most of Helsinki’s shoreline is free and/or accessible by road and accordingly used actively by people for recreational purposes, many parts of the shoreline are perceived as inaccessible, reflecting a need to combine factual and perceived accessibility of aquatic environments in detail during the planning processes and to discuss reasons for possible discrepancies between these two. Second, there was a remarkable seasonal variation in the use of aquatic environments, so more attention should be paid to social-demographic factors explaining the distribution of the use of urban nature. Third, it seems to be difficult to capture the variety of perceptions of people and to integrate them into planning and decision-making processes even on a local scale, and this challenge is likely even more pronounced on higher levels of planning and governance. Thus, better integration of regional and local-scale planning procedures should be encouraged. Building on these observations, we conclude that integration of procedural and distributive environmental justice into the practices of the governance of aquatic environments could remarkably decrease unwanted trade-offs and potential conflicts in their use and management.
Understanding global patterns of biodiversity change is crucial for conservation research, policies and practices. However, for most ecosystems, the lack of systematically collected data at a global level limits our understanding of biodiversity changes and their local-scale drivers. Here we address this challenge by focusing on wetlands, which are among the most biodiverse and productive of any environments1,2 and which provide essential ecosystem services3,4, but are also amongst the most seriously threatened ecosystems3,5. Using birds as an indicator taxon of wetland biodiversity, we model time-series abundance data for 461 waterbird species at 25,769 survey sites across the globe. We show that the strongest predictor of changes in waterbird abundance, and of conservation efforts having beneficial effects, is the effective governance of a country. In areas in which governance is on average less effective, such as western and central Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and South America, waterbird declines are particularly pronounced; a higher protected area coverage of wetland environments facilitates waterbird increases, but only in countries with more effective governance. Our findings highlight that sociopolitical instability can lead to biodiversity loss and undermine the benefit of existing conservation efforts, such as the expansion of protected area coverage. Furthermore, data deficiencies in areas with less effective governance could lead to underestimations of the extent of the current biodiversity crisis.