MEPS 190:271-287 (1999)  -  doi:10.3354/meps190271

An ecosystem approach to global assessment and management of coastal waters

K. Sherman1,*, A. M. Duda2

1United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, 28 Tarzwell Drive, Narrangansett, Rhode Island 02882-1199, USA
21818 H Street NW, Room G-6015 Global Environment Facility Secretariat, Washington, DC 20433, USA

ABSTRACT: Since the Rio Summit in 1992 the public has become increasingly aware that coastal ecosystems are under significant threat from pollution, overexploitation, and habitat loss. However, little progress has been made in sustained global actions to reverse their degraded state. It has been no small feat for the world community to come to agreement on international instruments identifying environmental and resource problems, but it is another matter altogether to muster the scientific community and the political will to enact necessary policy reforms and devote necessary funding to restore and protect valuable marine ecosystems. An ecosystems approach is emerging for the assessment and management of coastal waters around the globe utilizing modular strategies for linking science-based assessments of the changing states of large marine ecosystems to socioeconomic benefits expected from achieving long-term sustainability of their resources. To assist developing countries in implementing the ecosystems approach to marine resources development and sustainability in international waters, the Global Environment Facility and its $2 billion trust fund has been opened to universal participation that builds on partnerships with the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Environmental Programme, and the World Bank


KEY WORDS: Global assessment · Large marine ecosystems · Management · Sustainability


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