Apr 18, 2008

Gulf of Maine EBM Toolkit Survey Report

The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment was established in 1989 by the Governments of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts to foster cooperative actions within the Gulf watershed, with a mission to "maintain and enhance environmental quality in the Gulf of Maine to allow for sustainable resource use by existing and future generations."

The Council has a new report out on Ecosystem-Based Management. As most of its members are planning agencies from the 5 different political entities, GOMCME has no direct power to change the way fishing, development and waste discharges are handled.

But it does come out with useful publications, though they tend to be....repetitive. Their latest publication is entitled "Gulf of Maine Ecosystem-Based Management Toolkit Survey Report"

Ecosystem-based management often seems unnecessarily mysterious or technically rarified. It isn't. Its the way that intelligent natural people have done it for millenia:

Don't foul your own nest. Be aware of the effect of your actions on the rest of the ecosystem of which you are a part. Don't take more than Nature can bear losing. Live lightly upon the earth, our collective nest.

Modern humanity, though, needs something a bit more techie. Enter EBM.

What one does, to practice Ecosystem Based Management is as follows:
Use data from informed stakeholders and other high quality sources to assemble virtual ecosystems or key ecosystem processes. Then generate scenarios showing the likely consequences of different fishery, pollution of development actions on these ecosystems and processes and on the economic users of the ecosystem. Use the knowledge gained to inform decisions about development, fishing, pollution, etc.

Can we/willwe apply EBM to our regulatory system? The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment certainly hopes so.

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