Letters to the Editor

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Without zoning, marine planning will be ineffective

Dear MEAM:

I totally agree with Tundi Agardy ("MSP in Europe: Can MSP Help Achieve EBM without Ocean Zoning?", MEAM 3:2). I am concerned that certain proposals for marine planning are concentrating far too much on just integrating different user interests and balancing environmental, social, and economic interests without understanding the key issues. This is being sold as a "win-win" for everyone, which it would be if it were truly to deliver an ecologically sustainable long-term solution.

Marine plans require an ecological foundation - such as incorporating zoning or an ecologically coherent network of marine protected areas -- to be effective. Those without such a foundation miss the point that we, including our long-term social and economic interests, are dependent on ecological systems. "Zoning in which environmental protection is harmonized with uses of the sea is likely the most effective approach to mitigate and possibly reverse extensive and increasing human impacts on marine and coastal ecosystems," as Agardy quotes, is absolutely right!

Melanie Gomes
Marine Policy Officer, Northern Ireland Marine Task Force, Ulster Wildlife Trust


Dear MEAM:

This is just a short note to support Tundi's honest recognition of the futility of MSP without zoning. Only a very small proportion of humans accept reductions in freedom voluntarily. If even a few break the "plan" (for consequent personal gain), then even the highly moral minority will tend to see the futility of following the plan. I think that any open observation of human behavior, including in the fishing community, will show this.

Graeme Kelleher AO.
Consultant (former Chairman of Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority), Australia


EBM and definitions

Dear MEAM:

I was disappointed with your material on defining ecosystem-based management ("Communicating EBM: Facing the Challenge of Describing a New Management System to Various Audiences", MEAM 3:2). The general treatment seemed to be along the lines of "What is the appropriate name for a recognized activity?" That should be the least of our worries. Call it Operation X, Z, or Omega for all I care. What does matter are the precise definitions of various activities or objectives.

Sidney Holt
Biologist and consultant, Italy

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