ICES Annual Science Conference 2021

Theme session N

Understanding values related to the sea to resolve policy trade-offs

Thursday 9 September
16:00-17:00 CEST

​​​​​​​​Fisheries and ecosystem-based management have focused on the ecological and economic values of marine resources. But values related to the sea are diverse and encompass food, nutrition, livelihood, culture, and recreation amongst others.

Marine resource management strives to achieve sustainable utilization by balancing resource extraction, biodiversity conservation, and social acceptability. However, these three pillars of sustainability often lead to conflicting management objectives and policy goals, which are rooted in competing economic, ecological, and social values. Resource conflicts are compounded when human activities related to the sea and coasts spatially overlap, e.g., fisheries, aquaculture, oil drilling, transportation, and recreation. To reconcile competing uses of marine and coastal waters, ecosystem-based management considers the integrated marine social-ecological system in science and policy. This integration has conceptual appeal but leads to high system complexity and uncertainty in implementation, often requiring coordination and collaboration of diverse human interests and goals across multiple stakeholders and agencies.

To overcome these implementation challenges, policy trade-offs must be resolved. This requires an improved understanding of human behaviour and better integration of human dimensions in fisheries and ecosystem-based management. 

Management goals are ultimately statements of values with certain outcomes selected over others. However, empirical research into what and how values influence human decisions and behaviours with respect to the marine environment is ambiguous. As complex ideals, values direct goals, frame attitudes, and provide standards to judge actions. But while values orient human activities and are extensively studied by multiple disciplines, no coherent theory of value exists. 

Effective fisheries and ecosystem-based management and policy requires a deeper understanding of the nature and interaction of values related to the sea, for e.g., as food, livelihood, income, culture, and recreation.

This theme session will address three topics:

  • Identification of values related to the sea and analysis of how these values interact to influence individual and policy decisions
  • Methodological and empirical approaches to elicit values related to the sea
  • Evaluation and resolution of value trade-​offs in management and policy

​Marine and fisheries scientists and members of ICES expert groups (notably WGSOCIAL) with interests in values, social-ecological indicators, the human dimensions of fisheries, social sciences, fisheries management, ecosystem-based management, and policy are invited to participate in this session. Science and policy advisers who focus on the human dimensions of fisheries, ecosystem status assessments, management science, and policy are also encouraged to take part, including members of ICES Advisory Committee and Strategic Initiative on the Human Dimension​.​

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Mimi E. Lam (Norway)
Marloes Kraan (The Netherlands)​
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Theme session N

International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) · Conseil International pour l'Exploration de la Mer (CIEM)
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