Marine area governance and management in the Gulf of Maine : a case study
Kite-Powell, Hauke L.
Schumacher, Mary E.
MetadataShow full item record
LocationGulf of Maine
KeywordMarine resources conservation
This case study provides a description and evaluation of marine area governance and management in the Gulf of Maine. On the advice of the Oversight Committee, we began the study at a broad level by identifying marine resources, uses of the resources, existing management regimes, and conflicts among users of the resources. The results of these initial reviews are collected in the tables in Appendix A. The Oversight Committee also suggested that we develop a chronology of important events relating to marine area governance and management in the Gulf of Maine, which is included as Appendix B. As is clear from even a quick scan of the material in Appendix A, almost every conceivable use of the marine environment occurs in the Gulf of Maine at some scale. However, some of these uses are more problematic than others in terms of the governance and management problems they engender. Rather than take a broadbrush approach that might not have done justice to any of the region's many ocean resources and uses, we decided to focus the case study on one or more of its most difficult and consequential governance and management issues. The initial survey enabled us to focus in on a subset of resources, use conflicts, and governance issues, namely those associated mainly with marine fisheries governance and management. Several considerations support the argument for a focus on fisheries governance and management. The marine fisheries are a regional-scale resource and industry, due to the mobility of the fish stocks, the geographic distribution of the users of the resource, and the fact that governance institutions have been designed to have regionwide authority. Thus fisheries mismanagement has the potential to inflict widespread social detriment and significant economic losses. Indeed, the net cost of depleted groundfish stocks under the current management structure, relative to the condition of stocks in an optimally managed fishery, has been estimated at about $139 million annually, or just under one-fifth the landed value of the entire Gulf of Maine commercial catch. Other ocean resources with potentially regional impacts, such as offshore energy, are not being pursued in the Gulf of Maine region at levels that pose significant concerns. Consequently, non-fishery resource management problems in the Gulf of Maine are, for the most part, local in scale, of comparatively minor economic significance, and not unique to the region. There is no evidence, for example, of "system-wide degradation of marine environmental quality in the Gulf of Maine. . . . The Gulf as a whole remains relatively clean, although the deep central basins appear to be accumulating several pollutants, including PAHs and PCBs" (GOMCME 1994; see also Dow and Braasch 1996 and Gould, Clark, and Thurberg 1994). Given that most pollutants of concern are concentrated in inshore waters near urban areas and in the mouths of industrialized rivers, it is not at all clear that they could be dealt with more effectively or efficiently at the regional level. In sum, our focus on fisheries reflects our judgment that the greatest net benefits might be obtained from improvements in the governance and management of these marine resources within the Gulf of Maine region.
Suggested CitationWorking Paper: Hoagland, Porter, Kite-Powell, Hauke L., Schumacher, Mary E., "Marine area governance and management in the Gulf of Maine : a case study", 1996-08-01, https://hdl.handle.net/1912/8761
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