Policy Options: Message in a bottle
Moving Oceans
Community Participation in Ocean Management

O ceans and coastal areas are distinctive resource systems that require special management and planning approaches. Such approaches need to adopt a systematic, incremental approach in developing and implementing ocean management projects and programmes. Awareness building and education remain the cornerstones of any approach - that will integrate environmental, economic, and social information from the very beginning of the process. Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of projects and programmes also need to be incorporated.

Preserving and managing resources (seafood, aesthetic, recreation, marine, mineral and other resources) of the oceans involves a multiplicity of actors and actions at various levels. But some of the most effective and sustainable actions come as a groundswell of participation from coastal communities themselves, influencing the use and abuse of ocean resources in a variety of ways.

Depending on the local conditions such as culture, income levels, settlement patterns, etc. the degree and range of community participation activities varies. On the whole, three broad categories of community participation issues with respect to ocean management can be discerned - (1) changing lifestyles, (2) interaction with oceans and coastal regions, and (3) awareness-building and education.

    Changing Lifestyle

  • reduced waste generation and disposal from households and businesses/industries that may drain into rivers and oceans.
  • minimizing air pollution and CO2 emissions that increase acid rain and influence various climatic aspect.
  • prudent consumption of seafood that does not affect or strain existing fish stocks or endangered marine species
  • minimizing use of household pollutants, including herbicides, pesticides etc. that may end up in coastal watersheds.

    Ocean Interaction

  • enlightened beach behaviour that reduces wastes, does not disturb sea habitats and eco-systems.
  • gentle interaction with marine lifeforms that is treated with respect and understanding,
  • reducing the environmental impact of boating, fishing, diving, and other coastal recreational activities.

    Awareness-building and Education

  • Educating, and being aware, of the direct and indirect effects of individual actions on the oceans.
  • Participation in activities relating to coasts and oceans; volunteering for clean-ups etc.
  • Enforcement and compliance of laws and legislation related to coasts and oceans.

Do you have something to add to the above? Send an email to: Hari Srinivas - hsrinivas@gdrc.org
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UEM and the Deep Blue Sea