Letters to the Editor

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

The article in our last issue on whether conservation should be considered a use of the marine environment (MEAM 3:1) drew reactions from readers who were opposed to the concept.

Dear MEAM,
With all of the major issues confronting our oceans and marine resources, why are we creating new ones? Conservation management is not a use but rather a way to regulate or manage a use or activity. Its benefits are for the public good, not for the unrestricted use of private industry. In fact, extractive uses of any resource are rarely sustainable without some form of regulation or restriction. If we place conservation on the same level as a "use", how can we achieve economic stability and environmental quality for the greatest number over the long term? Conservation involves having the goal of sustainable resource use for successive generations. Please put this debate to rest and let's get on with the protection of our ocean resources.

Gib Chase
Biologist (retired), US Fish and Wildlife Service


Dear MEAM,
To deal with the question of whether conservation is a use, the term conservation should have first been defined. But I agree entirely with Elliott Norse [in the article]: conservation, as I understand the term, is a policy goal, a process, and a condition of use.

Sidney Holt
Biologist and consultant, Italy

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