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Working Towards a Blue Future: Promoting Sustainability, Environmental Protection and Marine Management: Examples from the UK Government Blue Belt Programme and Current International Initiatives

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Understanding marine ecosystems by exploring their structure, function and resilience to environmental change is critical for making policy decisions that will lead to effective stewardship and sustainable management of marine resources in UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs). Such decisions involve scientific ...

Understanding marine ecosystems by exploring their structure, function and resilience to environmental change is critical for making policy decisions that will lead to effective stewardship and sustainable management of marine resources in UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs). Such decisions involve scientific evidence and a shifting range of, and balance between, social, political, legal, cultural, economic, and environmental concerns. The wide range of competing concerns means that to be effective, decision-makers need to maximize the quality of their evidence. The idea behind this proposed Research Topic is to bring together all the work that has recently been undertaken during the Blue Belt program, which over the last 4 years has supported many of the UK OTs during the designation, protection and management of some of the largest MPAs in the world.

This Research Topic will showcase all the operational scientific evidence collection, social science studies, the development of management strategies and economic studies that have been undertaken and been necessary to ensure that all policy decisions have been fully evidence-informed. The current list of proposed papers is highly multidisciplinary and covers an extremely wide geographical area which includes, British Antarctic Territory, South Sandwich Islands, Tristan da Cunha, St Helena, Ascension Island, Pitcairn Island and British Indian Ocean Territory.

We feel that there is much to be learned from these studies, not only in other UK territories, but in a broader global context. Contributions from colleagues from around the world working on similar programs will enhance the topic by adding their experiences and lessons learned.

Keywords: Marine protection, Sustainability, Policy critical


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