Change, adaptation, and resilience have emerged as central concerns in the study of natural resource governance. The mobility of fisheries makes them particularly dynamic and susceptible to long term drivers of movement, such as changing climatic conditions and human pressures. To explore how movement impacts resource systems, this paper presents a mixed-method empirical analysis of long-term geographic shifts and social response in the Northeast U.S. summer flounder fishery from 1996 to 2014. First, the paper describes changes in the distribution of summer flounder and the catch location of commercial fishing trips landing summer flounder. This is followed by a description of the institutional context of summer flounder fishery management and a narrative policy analysis of the ongoing regulatory process. Results indicate significant northward movement of both resource and resource users. Fisheries movement patterns are a result of both ecological change, and an institutional context that allows for some types of fishery mobility while constraining others. Significant conflict has emerged over the distribution of resource access and benefits as these fishery shifts occur within a spatially allocative, and relatively static management context. The analysis identifies competing policy narratives that have emerged to advocate for different forms of adaptation. Narratives offer contesting constructions of the nature and extent of locational shifts, and the fundamental goals of allocation. The differences in these narratives highlight how policy history shapes contemporary disagreements about appropriate response. This fishery serves as a case study for exploring human response to large scale, long-term movements of a natural resource.
Governance and Legal Frameworks
In this article, we track a relatively new term in global environmental governance: “blue economy.” Analyzing preparatory documentation and data collected at the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (i.e., Rio + 20), we show how the term entered into use and how it was articulated within four competing discourses regarding human–ocean relations: (a) oceans as natural capital, (b) oceans as good business, (c) oceans as integral to Pacific Small Island Developing States, and (d) oceans as small-scale fisheries livelihoods. Blue economy was consistently invoked to connect oceans with Rio + 20’s “green economy” theme; however, different actors worked to further define the term in ways that prioritized particular oceans problems, solutions, and participants. It is not clear whether blue economy will eventually be understood singularly or as the domain of a particular actor or discourse. We explore possibilities as well as discuss discourse in global environmental governance as powerful and precarious.
Marine spatial planning (MSP) has been proposed by both scholars and managers as an approach through which practitioners can achieve integration in the governance of marine space. Although integration is a key tenet of MSP, relatively little empirical research has been done, especially in the U.S., to examine how practitioners achieve integration through the application of this approach. We set out to examine the tools, techniques, and strategies used to apply MSP in the U.S., focusing on case studies in Washington, Rhode Island, and San Francisco. In this paper we report results from these cases, considering the governance dimensions of integration and the processes through which it has been facilitated, focusing on four integration elements: interagency and intergovernmental, stakeholder, sectoral, and knowledge integration. We found evidence of all forms of integration across these three cases. Findings draw attention to achieving horizontal interagency and intergovernmental integration through formal and informal techniques, with informal techniques being especially useful; the use of a mix of formal and informal techniques to facilitate stakeholder, sectoral, and knowledge integration; and practitioners' focus on a narrow subset of sectors associated with planning drivers. We note that these tools, techniques and strategies are largely indirect means of integration, working within existing policy and regulatory structures and institutional arrangements. We conclude with a discussion of recommendations for future MSP research and practice.
United Nations General Assembly Resolution 69/292 has committed States to develop an international legally binding instrument under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). The instrument must address a ‘package deal’ including questions relating to access and benefit sharing in relation to marine genetic resources (‘MGRs’) in areas beyond national jurisdiction (‘ABNJ’). This paper examines the recommendations to the UN General Assembly of the recently convened Preparatory Committee (Prep-Comm) to negotiations of the international instrument relating to MGRs. It examines the less controversial issues which in the words of the Prep Comm includes “non-exclusive elements that generated convergence among most delegations” and notes significant areas of agreement and some consequences of agreement on those points. This includes the preamble to the proposed instrument, its geographical scope, material scope, relationship to UNCLOS and other instruments and frameworks (globally and regionally). The second part of the paper then goes on to examine in detail some of the main issues on which there is a divergence of views including the ideological divide over the purported common heritage of mankind status of such resources, regulating access, the nature of the resources covered by the proposed instrument, what benefits are to be shared, the relationship with intellectual property rights and monitoring of the utilization of MGRs in ABNJ.
Monitoring marine activities has always been a difficult task due to the vastness of the world's oceans. This inability to properly monitor both high seas and territorial zones alike has meant that illegal activities at sea have been able to flourish, from illegal fishing to human rights violations to maritime piracy. Lately, however, the rise of new methods of technological monitoring – from satellites to UAVs – has increased optimism that a better, technologically-aided method of ocean monitoring and governance may help to diminish the proliferation of these and other illegal activities. This paper considers the ways in which technological innovation has been proposed to help ocean monitoring and governance, and analyzes the extent to which the optimism over these new techniques is warranted.
Protected areas (PAs) are a prominent approach to maintaining and enhancing biodiversity and ecosystem services. A critical question for safeguarding these resources is how PA governance processes and management structures influence their effectiveness. We conduct an impact evaluation of 12 PAs in three Central American countries to assess how processes in management restrictions, management capacity, and decentralization affect the annual change in the satellite-derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). NDVI varies with greenness that relates to plant production, biomass, and important ecosystem functions related to biodiversity and ecosystem services such as water quality and carbon storage. Any loss of vegetation cover in the form of deforestation or degradation would show up as a decrease in NDVI values over time and gains in vegetation cover and regeneration as an increase in NDVI values. Management restriction categories are based on international classifications of strict versus multiple-use PAs, and capacity and decentralization categories are based on key informant interviews of PA managers. We use matching to create a counterfactual of non-protected observations and a matching estimator and regression to estimate treatment effects of each sub-sample. On average, strict and multiple-use PAs have a significant and positive effect on NDVI compared to non-protected land uses. Both high and low decentralized PAs also positively affect NDVI. High capacity PAs have a positive and significant effect on NDVI, while low capacity PAs have a negative effect on NDVI. Our findings advance knowledge on how governance and management influence PA effectiveness and suggest that capacity may be more important than governance type or management restrictions in maintaining and enhancing NDVI. This paper also provides a guide for future studies to incorporate measures of PA governance and management into impact evaluations.
Management of and planning for the Canadian marine environment can be disrupted by conflict, but conflict is inevitable given the plurality of actors, interests, values, and uses of marine space. Unresolved conflict may impede governance objectives and threaten the sustainability of social-ecological systems. Innovative institutional arrangements such as adaptive comanagement theoretically reduce conflict and support sustainable management. The southwest New Brunswick Bay of Fundy Marine Advisory Committee (MAC) was assembled in 2004 to address conflict between marine users and to further marine planning. As an innovative planning institution influenced by comanagement theory, the MAC experience served as a case study to develop governance measures for the Canadian Fisheries Research Network Comprehensive Fisheries Sustainability Framework, which includes a consideration of ecological, social, economic, and governance dimensions of sustainability. One of the most important but neglected aspects of sustainability measurements involves the assessment of governance and planning effectiveness. An assessment of the MAC experience through a comprehensive sustainability evaluation framework offers significant lessons for advancing the theoretical and empirical literature on adaptive comanagement through deeper consideration of challenges in creating institutions of “good governance.” In doing so, the case study also contributes to the Comprehensive Fisheries Sustainability Framework by testing some measures of governance effectiveness, including co-operation, resources, transparency, accountability, and inclusivity.
This paper focuses on the relationship of climate change mitigation and human security and its implications for ocean governance. The analysis of the existing maritime climate change mitigation landscape begins with a mapping of the different actors involved and their empowerment in this domain. This is followed by a presentation of the institutional framework for maritime climate change mitigation, moving from the international to the EU level, with a special focus on the Baltic Sea, which is highlighted as an example of a regional sea environmental system that has incorporated climate change mitigation in its objectives and operational actions within the broader aim of securability. Finally, the prevailing and emerging norms in the domain of maritime climate change mitigation efforts at the international and regional levels are being discussed.
Recent decades have seen an increasing emphasis on (re)structuring marine governance regulation to fit relevant natural systems in terms of scale and spatial scope, and thus also on the delimitation of spatial units. Being at the heart of ecosystem based management, this focus on the relationship between scale and space in nature and in regulatory systems necessitates an increased awareness of the use of spatial and scale-related concepts in marine governance regulation. Using the regulatory context of the Baltic Sea as the focal point, this article examines concepts central to marine governance such as ‘ecosystem’, ‘water body’ and ‘marine waters’. It investigates how changes in the physical environment are reflected in the legal concepts, but also how these concepts affect the understanding or definition of the ‘natural’ phenomena ostensibly representing the scales on which the regulatory system should be premised.
Public acceptance of renewable energy technologies (RETs) is critical to the broader adoption of these technologies and reducing the role of fossil fuels in electricity generation. Recent investigations into the public engagement processes surrounding RET projects reveal certain procedural deficits, especially concerning procedural fairness and stakeholder trust. With this in mind, we analyze two engagement processes that led to the Block Island Wind Farm, the first operational offshore wind farm in the United States. Through semi-structured interviews we identify certain procedural techniques that allowed process leaders to first build public trust in themselves, then in the process, and ultimately in the outcome. This chain of trust was fostered through informal efforts of process leaders to meet stakeholder expectations concerning process leaders’ ability to work for the public interest, provide meaningful engagement opportunities, and to produce non-discriminatory outcomes. This case study highlights the potential of such informal actions to meet stakeholder expectations and build trust, while also empirically demonstrating specific techniques that future process leaders could employ to increase stakeholder acceptance of RETs.