Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.
Issue link: http://uscgproceedings.epubxp.com/i/205896
there is no single approach that mitigates the risk of vessel collisions, an evolving network of technologies and communication capabilities help reduce that risk. For some species, detection and notifcation is a feasible approach. Some species of whale are large enough and tend to be near the surface frequently enough that they might be observed by mariners or lookouts, keeping watch in accordance with known periods of increased density. Others vocalize and can be detected by listening devices. Today, draw- ing from direct observations, various monitoring approaches, and probabilities based on past records, we can develop a reasonable, actionable estimation of the relative risk of whale/vessel encounters.9 Marine planning can help ensure regulations take into account static habitat characteristics and factors such as relative risk of encounters based on species distribution, seasonal migratory patterns and other more dynamic patterns, and to place these characteristics in the context of anticipated human activity. Keeping the "Management" in Ecosystem-Based Management Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is the frst of nine priority objectives developed to translate the National Ocean Policy into "on the ground" and "in the water" results. However, implementing EBM is hampered by a number of factors including discontinuity between geopolitical boundaries and the edges of discrete habitat types, difculty delineating and quantifying "the links between ecosystem components and benefts to humans," 1 and a persistent margin of uncertainty often associated with limited and incomplete data sets. Efforts to implement ecosystem-based management can run aground on the topic of scientifc uncertainty and the challenges inherent in teasing apart and binding up elements of complex, interdependent natural systems. "Successful management requires the ability to understand and predict the sea's varying physics, biogeochemistry and ecosystem interactions in space and time… . There will always be a level of uncertainty or a lack of data in a particular area, but it should not be used as an excuse to postpone a marine spatial planning process." 2 It is management's role to choose a stepping-of point, ensuring that decisions are informed by the best available science and also that lingering scientifc uncertainty does not hold progress hostage. Ecosystembased management establishes the scope for management eforts and a framework for such decision making. The manner in which decisions are carried out and implemented varies, but three management techniques 30 Proceedings hold special promise for marine planning and ecosystem-based management: • • • anticipatoryactions, adaptivemanagement,and p recautionaryapproachesthat address cumulative efects. Anticipatory Actions Anticipatory management is essential to successful ecosystem-based management. Science has a foundational role in formulating sound planning efforts and developing prudent public policy. Scientific knowledge and understanding of marine and Great Lakes ecosystems is greater than it has ever been, yet when data is so diverse and abundant, this can be a management challenge. Additionally, we will know even more in a short period of time, and that data may uncover heretofore unrecognized linkages among environmental processes or bring to light new ways that human activities beneft, impact, or make use of these resources. Still, we have ample evidence to illustrate the jeopardy that we fnd ourselves in when we fail to act in the face of some uncertainty. Anticipatory actions are often based on information considered in the context of identifed trends and necessarily driven by subject matter expertise rather than scientifc certainty. Adaptive Management Adaptive management is a series of steps tailored to a particular management arrangement that ensures actions are Fall 2013 properly keyed to desired results, monitored over time, amended to accommodate changing circumstances, incorporate new information, or otherwise evolve to keep pace with the dynamic nature of the ocean environment and myriad human uses. Precautionary Approach A precautionary approach places a premium on avoiding unanticipated impacts and those impacts that could exceed the span of control for mitigation measures (i.e., irreversible damage). 3 This approach generally requires the proponent of a regulated activity to afrmatively demonstrate that adverse impacts are unlikely or will not occur, rather than going forward based on a presumption that unacceptable impacts will not follow unless they are known to be a certainty. Application of the precautionary approach was identified as a guiding principle for "management decision and actions afecting the ocean" in the fnal recommendations of the Ocean Policy Task Force. Accordingly, there may be circumstances when a bias toward action is warranted (resource protection actions that are not wholly proven, but may stave of irreversible impacts, for example). Conversely, a precautionary approach to a proposed action that cannot prove that it can be conducted in a benign manner may favor restraint. Regulators are working to develop the most appropriate way to incorporate this concept, when applicable, into existing regulations. Managers may have additional latitude to www.uscg.mil/proceedings