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Ecosystem based fisheries management from concept to practice: Australia, a case study


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Webb, H 2010 , 'Ecosystem based fisheries management from concept to practice: Australia, a case study', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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There are a number of reasons for the move towards sustainable development and
ecosystem based fisheries management. Public concern and awareness over the impact
of development on the environment started in the 1960s and 1970s with the emergence
of the environment movement and the global sustainability debate. This was in response
to visible effects of degradation on the environment caused by human activities, and a
challenging of traditional assumptions that the natural environment had the capacity to
provide unlimited resources for continued economic and population growth. The past
two decades has been characterised by an acknowledgement that previous management
approaches have failed to effectively address the issues effecting oceans and fisheries,
and the growing realisation that a holistic approach is required to ensure the proper
governance and management of the oceans and fisheries. The overall objective of
EBFM is to sustain healthy marine ecosystems and the fisheries they support.
There is now a large literature on EBFM, but much less on implementation and no
general agreed framework for assessing EBFM. A systems approach is one way to deal
with the above difficulties. The central proposition of this thesis has argued that
managing under ESD/EBFM principles is complex and one needs to understand the big
picture in order to identify and understand the parts. This approach has been used
throughout each stage of the thesis by way of unpacking the whole into its constituent
parts and developing an understanding of the key dependencies and relationships; and
repacking by discussing the importance of integrated governance and management in
terms of consistency when translating from general concepts and definitions into
principles, criteria, objectives, and the specific approaches for implementation.
To assess management strategies in the context of the overall “fisheries system” that
links the marine ecosystem, users, scientists, government agencies and other
stakeholders, it is helpful to begin to get a sense of what such a system might look like.
To achieve this, an integrated model has been developed, which displays the broad
dimensions and interconnected and interlinked nature of ecosystems and human systems
under EBFM principles. The model was further developed in terms of the
biosocioecomic and the governance and management dimensions, which are
underpinned by a set of frameworks. These provide a framework for describing and
understanding of the dimensions, components, characteristics and key drivers for each
of the dimensions.
Australia has adopted ESD and EBFM which forms the basis for governance and
management of oceans and fisheries across all jurisdictions. In moving from the more
theoretical and conceptual aspects to an application of ESD/EBFM, the model was
applied to Australia, providing empirical material through which to qualitatively assess
its application. It was argued that the conceptual model could be used to successfully
represent the real world in moving from a broad representation of ESD and EBFM to
the detailed implementation at the fisheries level in Australia. One area of the model
that requires further development, and is necessary for fully implementing EBFM,
concerns societal choice and values. Future key challenges at the international level and
nationally for Australia is the need to simultaneously govern and manage both current
and emerging issues, which will require different approaches; and the need to move to a
fully integrated assessment approach so that adaptive management can be implemented.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Webb, H
Keywords: australia, tasmania, ecosystem, fisheries, habitat, sustainable
Publisher: University of Tasmania Library Special and Rare Materials Collection
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