Coastal Caretaking

Zoning Tropical Waters Like Land Resources




In the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin, 24 scientists from Canada, the U.S., the UK, China, Australia, New Caledonia, Sweden and Kenya affirm that one-fifth of humanity lives within 60 miles of a tropical coastline, primarily in developing countries. They warn that growing populations and the increasing impact of climate change ensure that pressures on these coastal waters will only grow.

Most locations are lacking in holistic, regional management approaches to balance the growing demands from fisheries, aquaculture, shipping, oil, gas and mineral extraction, energy production, residential development, tourism and conservation.

Lead author Peter Sale, of the United Nations University’s Canadian-based Institute for Water, Environment and Health, states, “We zone land for development, farms, parks, industry and other human needs. We need a comparable degree of care and planning for coastal ocean waters. We subject [the sea], particularly along tropical shores, to levels of human activity as intense as those on land. The result is widespread overfishing, pollution and habitat degradation.”

According to the paper, solutions must address a larger geographic scale over a longer period of time; focus on multiple issues (conservation, fisheries enhancement and land-based pollution); and originate from a local jurisdiction to gain traction with each community.


View the paper at Tinyurl.com/OceanZoning.

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