Rosenberg, McLeod, and real world policy

by Sheril Kirshenbaum

Rosenberg, A. A., and McLeod, K. L., (2005). “Implementing ecosystem-based approaches to management for the conservation of ecosystem services.” Marine Press Series 300: 270-274.

Andrew Rosenberg is a Professor in Natural Resources Policy and Management at the University of New Hampshire and Karen McLeod is the Director of Science for Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea (COMPASS).  Although they mention notable recovery efforts in fisheries around the United States, they discuss how present policies in marine management are insufficient given degradation of the environment and human impacts.  This paper conveys how we may shift to a more holistic comprehensive ecosystem approach to fisheries.

Rosenberg and McLeod emphasize framing management goals to the conservation of ecosystem services with integrated management sectors working among multiple scales.  They point out the need to consider the cumulative impacts of human activities in order to sustain the flows of key ecosystem services and the necessity of clear policies among different political, social, and natural science sectors.  Agency cultures at all levels should evolve a framework allowing agencies to integrate management across sectors.

Something that stands out in this article is Rosenberg and McLeod address uncertainty, which most other papers dance around only acknowledging as an impediment.  They agree risks and uncertainty should be clarified, but say it is “crucial not to lose sight of the aspects that we do know well because of the weight of evidence.”  They mean that logical action should not wait for the development of detailed studies in cases where there is clearly a problem and an evident feasible means to mitigate.  Ocean policies to be more comprehensive and longer sighted.

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