‘Integrated Action’ (Ocean Management)

As human population grows, more and more demands are being placed on the coastal and ocean environment.  Over half of the World’s human population currently lives at the coast, a figure that is projected to rise to 70% by 2020.  Historically human use of the ocean was largely in the realm of fisheries or transport but today one can find other industries operating in the ocean such as oil and aggregate extraction as well as recreational use.  In an increasingly crowded ocean and coastal environment, conflict between users becomes more common place.  What is more, our understanding of how seemingly separate activities inland can have an impact on ocean and coastal environments.  The traditional single-sector management approach is no longer sufficient.  Today local communities, nongovernmental organizations, private industry, and all levels of government play a role in managing human use of the oceans and the coast.  The need for integrated forms of management is widely recognised and can be seen in international law and agreements, such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the Convention for Biological Diversity.  

Integrated management attempts to blend social, economic, and environmental needs for the long-term sustainable use of the coast and oceans, to maintain biological diversity and essential ecological processes, and to reduce risks to users and the environment.  The exact implementation of integrated management varies greatly from one place to the next. The exact implementation of integrated management varies greatly from one place to the next.  Some approaches may stretch far inland to include features such as marshes, others may include the regional seas.  However the boundaries of management are defined, integrated management needs to take into account a number of variables, such as the physical characteristics of the coast/ocean, the legal system of the area, the structure of governance, and the role of stakeholder.  Despite these differences, integrated management systems tend to have some commonalities.  It is an ongoing process, and a participatory process in which industry, government, and communities are involved in shaping human use of the coast and ocean...

The full article was published in – and can be read in – The Marine Professional, a publication of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST).

Image: Chale Island - Indian Ocean - Diani Beach - Kenya. Credit The Sands Kenya/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)