Adaptive Management of Marine Mammals: Accentuating the Positive

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



From introduction: "The recent history of marine mammal management includes examples where conflict rather than cooperation characterizes the discourse. One cause of the conflict appears to be the tendency toward globalizing (or progressively de-localizing) the management regimes, with a result that many actors peripheral to resource users' concerns come to play a role in management decision-making. This has the result of greatly increasing the politicization of the management process without increasing the sustainability of the resource user - resource stock interdependency that has come to be seen as an important conservation principle. "Today it is increasingly recognized that community-based fishery and wildlife users in many areas of the world have developed systems of using these local resources on a sustainable basis (e.g. NRC 1986; Berkes et al. 1989; Ostrom 1990; Ruddle and Johannes 1990). In many cases this sustainable use takes place despite the introduction of, e.g., modern technology and the community's commercial integration with the world economy (e.g. Dyer and McGoodwin 1994). "This paper will examine the management and use of certain marine mammals in the coastal zone or near shore areas in the northern regions, where for many years the traditional use and commercial trade of marine mammals has sustained the health and vitality of both aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities and their distinctive cultures. In these regions there exist successful management and conservation programs operating with and without government (or other outside) involvement. "In the discussion that follows, two intergovernmental marine mammal management regimes will be briefly described and their performance analyzed. These two management bodies are the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and the International Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears (abbreviated to the Polar Bear Agreement, or PBA). "In marked contrast to the highly polarized and conflict generating nature of debates that characterizes the IWC management style, the PBA operates with a high degree of consensus and an almost total absence of conflict between governments and user groups. One very important difference between these two management regimes is the different understanding of the role of people in wildlife and fisheries management, in which the reactionary position exemplifying the whaling regime is strongly contrasted with the progressive view represented in the polar bear regime."



adaptive systems, marine resources, conservation, resource management