Ecosystem-Based Integrated Ocean Management: A Framework for Sustainable Ocean Economy Development

Foreword by WWF-Norway The pressure on nature from climate change and human activity has never been greater. We have lost a staggering 60% of life on the planet in only the last 50 years and these trends show no sign of abating. 60% of fish stocks are fully exploited and 33% are overfished. Coral reefs, which cover 0.1% of the ocean and have 25% of all marine species depending on them, are severely threatened by a warmer and more acidic ocean. Deep sea mining, should it be permitted, would pose an additional threat to an already stressed ocean. World-wide, billions of people rely on the ocean to sustain themselves and their communities. Considering the current state of ocean decline, further exploita- tion of natural resources without implementation of an ecosystem approach to marine manage- ment, will continue to undermine the health and resilience of our ocean as well as all who depend upon it. The identification of systems and solu- tions to avoid collapse of our marine ecosystems are urgently needed; securing a sustainable ocean economy, or blue economy is our collective chal- lenge. The good news is that working to achieve a sus- tainable ocean-, or sustainable blue economy, can contribute a large piece of the puzzle of turning the tide and building the resilience of our ocean as well as the communities who are dependent upon it. WWF and partners define a sustainable blue economy as one that: provides social and eco- nomic benefits for current and future generations, by contributing to food security, poverty eradica- tion, livelihoods, income, employment, health, safety, equity, and political stability. Such an econ- omy restores, protects, and maintains the diversity, productivity, resilience, core functions, and intrin- sic value of marine ecosystems – the natural cap- ital upon which prosperity depends. A sustainable ocean economy or blue economy, is based on clean technologies, renewable energy, and circu- lar material flows to secure economic and social stability over time, while keeping within the limits of one planet. When working toward a sustainable ocean-, or sustainable blue economy, Ecosystem-Based Inte- grated Ocean Management (EB-IOM) provides the fundamental framework. Applying the ecosystem

approach to managing ocean use must be at the heart of policy making and practice. It means to manage our combined effects on ecosystems so that they can continue to provide for themselves and for us. It provides a framework for decision makers and practitioners to help manage activities within the capacity of our natural world, from local to global scales. As ecosystems are constantly changing in response to human pressures and cli- mate change, EB-IOM processes must be iterative, adaptive and empowered to make changes to the management of all human activities that affect the ocean. Extensive knowledge about nature, ecosystems and the ocean is available, however there are still significant gaps. Improving our knowledge is there- fore paramount. Lack of knowledge is often used as an argument against conservation measures, and conservationists are often left with the bur- den of evidence to prove negative effects on the environment. Considering the state of the planet, this needs to be turned upside down: if we can- not assess the state and vulnerability of natural resources and potential effects on them before human activity is initiated, there is no basis to per- mit the activity. The application of the Precaution- ary Approach is an essential aspect of EB-IOM. WWF is pushing on all fronts for a healthy ocean for the benefit of people and nature. We hope this report can contribute to clarify good ocean man- agement, providing the tools needed to manage ocean space holistically and sustainably. Based on this report and others, WWF will proceed to create a set of recommendations and principles on how to accomplish this goal, which is vital for sustaina- ble development and the wellbeing of nature and people. We have no time to lose, but we are of the firm belief that a healthy ocean is achievable when the ecosystems and the people who depend upon it, are placed at the core and centre of everything we do.

Karoline Andaur CEO, WWF-Norway


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