Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

A toolbox for better management of the marine environment

Written by Michel Neumuller, MARSEILLE on Friday, February 13th 2015 à 11:28 | Read 325 times

MEDITERRANEAN. Plan Bleu is developing a toolbox that should help decision makers formulate policies that respond to changing realities before they start to have a negative impact. The overall aim is to achieve a Good Marine Environmental Status.

An adaptive approach rather than a ready-made solution.
An adaptive approach rather than a ready-made solution.
Stakeholders throughout the Mediterranean face the challenge of obtaining a Good Environmental Status for the marine environment. But how can they achieve this without causing insurmountable difficulties?

“It is widely accepted in Anglo-Saxon societies that you learn as you go, while elsewhere, policies are often expected to be flawless,” explains Didier Sauzade, a marine ecosystems expert at Plan Bleu for the Mediterranean.

The Adaptive Marine Policy (AMP) Toolbox not only supports policy-making, but also “facilitates flexible environmental policies, so that stakeholders are able to change course in response to the evolving situation.”

This is one of the major accomplishments of PERSEUS, a European research project working towards making the Mediterranean and the Black Sea ecologically sound

Perseus. has 55 partner organisations and a budget of 17 million euros, including EU funding of 13 million euros. The project is aimed at developing results to achieve a Good Marine Environmental Status between now and 2020.

The Adaptive Marine Policy...for a robust policy (photo XDR)
The Adaptive Marine Policy...for a robust policy (photo XDR)

A robust policy as a result of constant adjustment

The AMP platform, or Toolbox, offers five steps to policy-making for marine and coastal policy makers.

Decision makers are first invited to set the scene and link together key aspects of the policy under consideration. They then have to identify uncertainties that could stand in the way of achieving a Good Marine Environmental Status. Finally, they can choose the most appropriate policy in a participatory way, and implement it while also ensuring that performance indicators are used.
“Decision makers can’t be certain of the final result, but using this approach will help them to establish robust policies that can evolve depending on the risks,” Didier Sauzade explains.
Even the most coherent policies on this subject can have undesirable effects. For example, economic incentive measures to help modernise fishing fleets have threatened already vulnerable fish stocks in the past, leading to a series of negative repercussions for the fishing industry. There is a lot to take into account in order to achieve the initial objectives set out.

The AMP Toolbox includes a set of indicators to support this, covering economic, legal and environmental considerations. Everyone involved is invited to test the platform. Feedback from these experiences will inform project coordinators’ considerations.

With each test, coordinators will be able to predict the impact of their decisions on the marine environment more accurately, avoiding costly failures in situ.

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