Keynote talk: 2009 Puget Sound Georgia Basin

Andrew Rosenberg from U of New Hampshire speaking on “Ecosystem-based Management:developing a framework for implementation” at 9:25am PST.

Evidence for ecosystem effects:

  • We know ecosystem-level impacts occur (from scientific and traditional knowledge)
  • We know regine shifts occur and that our perception change with shifting baselines
  • Keep in mind that we are approaching theoretical limits of marine productivity in many ecosystems!

Perspective from Gulf of Maine:

  • Over 40 years, ~6 major management regimes occurred, none of which had much effect except the extension of U.S. waters to 200mi (excluded European fishers, though they were eventually replaced by  U.S. overfishing!)
  • Real limitations on fishing pressure started working for cod, haddock and yellowtail in ~1994 (when he became regional administrator!) [we were arguing about whether sustainable harvest was 10-18% of standing stock, yet we were harvesting 66% while arguing!]
  • We wasted a lot of time discussing how much fishing should be reduced when we should have been struggling with WHO should take the reduction!
  • The discussion of WHO should alter their existing use of the marine ecosystems is getting complicated by emerging uses (e.g. wind power, tidal power, LNG ports).

An Ocean Blueprint was an important step for the U.S. because (through broadly-based consensus, including admirals and oil execs) it found:

  • Oceans and coasts are major contributions to U.S. economy (usual statement)
  • Oceans and coasts are in trouble
  • Existing management structure  (based on extraction metrics) is incompatible with the complexity of the ecosystems
  • EBM is the proposed solution (effective governance, science, education) and it must account for many services (beyond just food) provided by the sea

Jane Lubchenko led effort to articulate what EBM means: COMPASS

Five features of EBM:

  1. Focus on ability of ecosystem to support human well-being
  2. Natural boundaries matter (not political ones)
  3. Various sectors of human activity interact so management should be integrated (in many cases, local and larger scales)
  4. Impacts are cumulative!  (filling in 10 hectares of salt marsh is typically worse then 1)
  5. Tradeoffs in services among sectors must be made and should be explicit — locally and LME-wide

International comparison of EBM approaches revealed common requirements for success:

  • Political leadership (bottom up or top down)
  • Legislative mandate is very helpful
  • Overarching policy declaration
  • Implementation structure

In Gulf of Maine, these components took these forms:

  • Regional governor’s agreement (top down); MA Ocean Partnership Fund (bottom up)
  • MA Ocean Policy Act; Federal Oceans 21?
  • Ocean plan created…
  • Common goals established…

Information mining and assimilation (backed by a information system) supports an iterative triangle process:

  1. Identification and prioritization of activities and ecosystem components
  2. Evaluation of activities
  3. Implementation of changes to activities

What is inter-jurisdicational coordination happen?

  • CZMA authority
  • Special Area Management Plan
  • Programmatic General Permit

How should public and stakeholders be involved?

  • Advisory Council
  • Public/Private Partnership (very important to be able to do things outside of governmental/regulatory environment)

Informing EBM requires:

  • Models
  • Decision Support Tools
  • Indicators (NOT 100s of indicators!): monitoring ecology or socio-economics; measure progress; inform adaptation; communicate results

You CAN end up with a better management system, though you may be feeling uncertainty at the beginning of this conference…

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