Integrating Stakeholder Values and Science in Marine Management

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"Ecosystem-based management (EBM) has been widely recognized as the new paradigm for marine resource management. This approach considers all the elements of the ecosystem including humans. Even though, EBM has been well defined in theory, its implementation has been challenging worldwide. The few successful initiatives at implementing EBM have suggested that stakeholder involvement is a key element. For marine management, as for other common resources, discussion on management alternatives often depend on technical and complex concepts from diverse fields. Without the discussions of stakeholder values, many people and their values are often excluded from or play a minor participation in the decision making process. In addition, stakeholders might not trust the process and reject the implementation of a decision/management alternative. To implement EBM, managers require a decision- making framework in which the values of the constituents are identified since the beginning of the process, and objectives and performance measures for EBM are consistent with these values. Structured decision-making (SDM) is a systematic approach that can bring together stakeholders, scientists and managers to build a framework for EBM that reflects what matters to people and the scientific aspects of the ecosystem and EBM. I present as a case study, the use of SDM for the on-going EBM process on the west coast of Vancouver Island (WCVI), British Columbia, Canada."
decision making, ecosystems, resource management, adaptive systems