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

5. Ecosystem-Based Integrated Ocean Management in practice

5.1. Addressing challenges Any EB-IOM initiative in the real world will face challenges. One technical challenge that is often raised is information gaps, especially in geospatial data. If DSTs are used, uneven data distribution, data gaps and data quality issues will skew analyti- cal outputs and reduce how meaningful they are to planners and decision makers. St Martin & Hall-Ar- ber (2008) highlight that geophysical and biologi- cal GIS data layers tend to be more often available than socio-economic data layers, a ‘cartographic silence’ that, in their view, inherently structures decision-making processes in a way that under- represents the needs of communities. One way to address this is through participatory mapping, in other words, capturing stakeholder knowledge in a GIS. Participatory mapping has been used to map the value of different sea areas to specific stake- holders, communities and sea users and the cul- tural value of areas to communities, as well as local and traditional knowledge about the environment. Furthermore, as previously highlighted, the adap- tive management approach was designed pre- cisely for planning in the face of uncertainty, so data gaps should not stall the implementation of new measures to safeguard the environment and keep within safe ecological limits, in line with the precautionary approach. There is no option to take a ‘neutral’ position while waiting for the perfect evidence base to become available. Delaying envi- ronmental protection measures because of uncer- tainties is effectively making a conscious decision to continue with the status quo, allowing known conflicts and environmental impacts to remain unaddressed. In practice, governance and institutional barriers pose much bigger impediments to progress than technical challenges (Depellegrin et al. 2019, Link et al. 2017). While it should be science-based, EB-IOM is not primarily a scientific or technical endeavour, but one of political, economic, institutional and governance transformation. This requires political will and support, including the provision of ade- quate financial resources to ocean management bodies, so that EBM implementation can be sup- ported in the long term (one of the biggest obsta- cles to progress in ICZM in Europe, for example, has been its dependence on short-term, project based funding – see Shipman & Stojanovic 2007).

are rooted in the complexities, dynamics and uncertainties of governance systems, which can be driven by economic upturns and downturns, political crises and other factors well beyond the scope of ocean management (Link et al. 2017). The sustainability transformations that ocean man- agers face are “wicked problems”, defined almost half a century ago by Rittel and Webber (1973). Value conflicts abound in EB-IOM (de Juan et al. 2017, Forst 2009, Kenter 2018, Pope et al. 2019) and power relationships between different stake- holders can be highly asymmetrical (Adjei & Overå 2019), creating situations in which value conflicts, vested interests, and power imbalances can drive stakeholder dynamics, policy, legislation and plan- ning decisions in ways that run counter to the pub- licly stated goals of sustainability. Managing transformations in such complex sys- tems is far from a trivial task (Kelly et al. 2019, Schuitmaker 2012). Some authors even question whether the concept of integrated ocean man- agement itself is naïve (Kelly et al. 2019, Link et al. 2017), but this argument is fallacious. Of course implementing EB-IOM is hard, not because it is a flawed approach, but because it is addressing the hardest challenge we face as humans in the twen- ty-first century: transforming our economies and societies so that they provide for the needs of all within the ecosystem boundaries of our planet. It is the most important task that humans face today, and the concepts, frameworks and practical tools of EB-IOM that have been covered in this report leave ocean managers amply prepared to play their part. The ecosystem approach, integrated ocean man- agement, and MSP have become anchored in policy and legislation in many parts of the world, resulting in a growing amount of empirical literature that examines real-world case studies of processes that have implemented elements of EB-IOM (WWF 2018). Throughout this report, reference has been made to a number of sources that draw from real- world case studies and experiences to illustrate key points (for example, Agostini et al. 2010, Airamé et al. 2003, Depellegrin et al. 2019, FAO 2016, Jones 2014, Kelly et al. 2016, Röckmann et al. 2015). 5.2. Successes 5.2.1. Case studies

Ocean management is essentially a political arena (Bennett 2019b), in which institutional challenges

Empirical case studies can provide valuable les- sons to learn from, but above all, they demonstrate


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