[Coral-List] Zone Tropical Coastal Oceans; Manage Them More Like Land

Peter Sale sale at uwindsor.ca
Wed Jul 2 11:16:03 EDT 2014

Hi coral-listers,
Zone Tropical Coastal Oceans; Manage Them More Like Land
I want to draw attention to a new article just published on line at Marine 
Pollution Bulletin.  It results from a project funded by the United 
Nations University’s institute for Water, Environment & Health (UNU-INWEH) 
with some assistance from the Univ of Queensland Global Change Institute. 
It is open access and found at 
In this article a geographically widely dispersed group with diverse 
expertise and with many decades of accumulated experience in tropical 
coastal and fisheries management makes five key points:
1.      One fifth of humanity live within 100km of a tropical shore; the 
current 1.36 billion will swell to 1.95 billion by 2050.  Many are 
directly dependent on adjacent coastal waters for food and livelihoods
2.      Globally, the tropical coastal ocean continues to be degraded by a 
suite of human impacts, mostly local but now also global through climate 
change and ocean acidification
3.      Current policies and procedures for improving management of these 
important ecosystems, including their fisheries, almost always fail, 
although there are the inevitable small bright spots that flicker briefly 
and then usually fade; we spend too much time congratulating ourselves 
over the brief flickers of good news, while failing to notice that the 
stresses on these ecosystems grow worse year by year
4.      Current policies are not failing because we lack the technological 
expertise, but because of a complex of issues wrapped up in social 
structures, traditions, cultural and religious belief systems, 
conventional ways of doing things, governmental and legal structures, 
corruption, misplaced priorities, and lack of political will.  Together 
these lead to short-term thinking, planning and implementation, 
small-scale projects, and failure of communities, stakeholders and 
governments to really commit to success.
5.      Needed is a more holistic, appropriately scaled (in both time and 
space) approach, appropriate to the particular socio-political structure 
present, to address management failure.  This absolutely requires 
committed leadership within the community, but it also requires 
significant changes in how plans to improve management are designed and 
As a way forward we suggest it is time to recognize we need to begin to 
zone the coastal ocean for competing uses, much as we do the land.  We 
advocate considerably expanded use of marine spatial planning (MSP) as an 
effective, objective tool for doing this.  We also suggest that MSP can 
serve as a Trojan horse to build the more integrated, holistic and 
appropriately scaled approach to management which is essential for real, 
lasting success.  There is a need for serious reflection and changes to 
policy by virtually all sectors engaged in helping countries improve their 
environmental management.  Otherwise we condemn a large portion of 
humanity to ever less quality of life.
As I said, its open access so anyone can get a copy.  It’s at 
We hope it will provoke vigorous discussion and real change because more 
of the same is simply not good enough.

Peter Sale

+1-705-764-3360 FAX
sale at uwindsor.ca                 @PeterSale3
www.uwindsor.ca/sale           www.petersalebooks.com

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