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5th International Marine Conservation Congress

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Front. Mar. Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00146

Key challenges in advancing an ecosystem-based approach to marine spatial planning under economic growth imperatives

  • 1Institute for Coastal and Marine Research, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa
  • 2Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Rhodes University, South Africa
  • 3Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science, Rhodes University, South Africa
  • 4Department of Zoology, Institute for Coastal and Marine Research, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa
  • 5DST/NRF Centre of Excellence at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • 6Department of Oceanography, Institute for Coastal and Marine Research, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa
  • 7South African National Biodiversity Institute, South Africa
  • 8Department of Zoology, Nelson Mandela University, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa
  • 9DST/NRF Centre of Excellence at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, Department of Zoology, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa

In 2016, South Africa became the first African country to draft Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) legislation. The underlying legal framework supports the achievement of ecological, social and economic objectives, but a national policy to grow the oceans economy provides a challenge for ecosystem-based approaches to MSP. During the 2018 International Marine Conservation Congress in Borneo, we convened a special session to discuss particular challenges that will likely apply to any developing country seeking to increase profits from existing, or proposed, marine activities. Here we present six inter-disciplinary research projects that support ecosystem-based approaches to MSP in South Africa, by addressing the following key challenges: (1) measuring ecosystem condition; (2) modelling impacts of climate change on food webs and fisheries; (3) managing fisheries with an ecosystem approach; (4) using dynamic ocean management to resolve conflicts between fisheries and threatened species; (5) managing conflicting objectives in a growing marine tourism industry; and (6) developing scenarios for alternative management strategies in complex marine social-ecological systems.

Keywords: Ecosystem condition, blue economy, Climate Change, dynamic ocean management, Scenario planning, System dynamics models, complex systems, tradeoffs

Received: 08 Nov 2018; Accepted: 07 Mar 2019.

Edited by:

Edward J. Hind-Ozan, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Wesley Flannery, Queen's University Belfast, United Kingdom
Di Jin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Lombard, Dorrington, Ortega-Cisneros, Penry, Pichegru, Reed, Smit, Vermeulen, Witteveen, Sink, Ginsburg and McInnes. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Amanda T. Lombard, Nelson Mandela University, Institute for Coastal and Marine Research, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, mandy.lombard@mandela.ac.za