As with new concepts in virtually any field - particularly ideas that involve change from the status quo - misconceptions exist about marine ecosystem-based management and marine spatial planning (MSP). These misconceptions, held by practitioners and stakeholders alike, pose obstacles to implementation. Below, authors of two new publications describe some of the most common misunderstandings they have encountered on MSP and EBM, and how they respond to each.
In the Western Pacific, the archipelagic nation of Fiji includes more than 800 high islands, cays, and islets. Holding roughly 4% of all coral reefs in the world, Fiji includes the third-longest barrier reef on Earth - the Great Sea Reef, or Cakau Levu. Most of the country's population of 945,000 people live along the coast, and many rely on the sea's resources for food and income. Fijian lifestyles, history, and customs - including the traditional use of tabu areas in Fijian resource management - all reflect the islanders' relationship with the sea.
Risk plays a role in any situation where decisions must be made based on uncertain information. In finance, for example, investors must often choose between putting their money in a bank account with a low but guaranteed interest rate, or in a stock that may yield high returns but also has a chance of losing all value. The amount of risk that the investors are willing to accept is called risk tolerance. Inversely, the amount of risk the investors are unwilling to accept is called risk aversion. Both considerations affect investors' decision-making.
By Tundi Agardy, MEAM Contributing Editor. E-mail: tundiagardy [at] earthlink.net
Editor's note: The goal of The EBM Toolbox is to promote awareness of tools for facilitating EBM processes. It is brought to you by the EBM Tools Network (www.ebmtools.org), a voluntary alliance of tool users, developers, and training providers.
By Sarah Carr
US interagency task force releases proposal for new national ocean policy
The deep ocean may be the least-known place on Earth. From the sea floor upward, the oceanic water column represents the overwhelming majority of living space on the planet - 90%, by one recent estimate. Yet very little of the dark blue expanse has been explored by humans. Seemingly each deep sea research voyage discovers alien organisms with features or abilities we have never imagined before, much less seen.
In very general terms, the human mind has a logical side (the left half of the brain) and an emotional side (the right half). The activities of MPA planning and management tend to engage the logical side, involving the application of math and science and developing practical solutions to conservation challenges.
In an article in the June 2009 issue of PLoS ONE journal, researchers take a different look at the concept of planning marine reserves. They suggest that selecting the areas of the ocean that should remain fished may be a more efficient management policy than selecting the areas where fishing should be banned.