Session Topic

February 28- Managing for Multiple Uses: The thorny life of a marine resource regulator

Click here to read the themes raised by the panel discussion on February 28th


Ben Haskell, Management Plan Coordinator for Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary

Vin Malkoski, Senior marine fisheries biologist and coordinator of the Environmental Review Program for Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries

Steve Tucker, Coastal/Marine Resources Specialist, Cape Cod Commission

Background lecture: Trust; National Environmental Protection Act and other mechanisms of governmental accountability

Summary: The people charged with managing marine resources have the unenviable task of deciding how to pursue the law and serve myriad stakeholders in the process. Their position places them in the line of fire between conflicting interest, and they themselves often come under attack from stakeholders or their proxies: congressional representatives demanding answers or lawyers demanding a day in court. Though they are meant to manage conflict and develop solutions, many regulatory agencies are accused of fueling conflict. In this panel regulators and marine resource managers from a variety of government agencies will discuss the challenges in their work, their successes, and their visions for the future.


Dobbs, David. The Great Gulf: Fishermen, Scientists, and the Struggle to Revive the World's Greatest Fishery. Shearwater Books, 2000. It's a good idea to read this whole book to get an overview of the conflicts over fisheries management in the Gulf of Maine, but read at least pages 51- 88.

Fukuyama, Francis. “Chapter 1: On the Human Situation at the End of History” in Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity. Free Press Paperbacks, 1995.

Multiple uses links:

Additional resources:

Hall-Arber, Madeleine and A. Christopher Finlayson, “The Role of Local Institutions in Groundfish Policy,” in Boreman, J.S. et. al., Editors. Northwest Atlantic Groundfish: Perspectives on a Fishery Collapse, American Fisheries Society, 1997.

Lewicki, Roy J., Gray, B. and Elliott M. Making Sense of Intractable Environmental Conflicts: Frames and Cases. Island Press, 2002.

Teacher resources:

“Bench-Pressing Issues: Exploring Topics that May Appear Before the Supreme Court.” (note: you can adapt this to look at some of the litigation we have discussed in class, appearing primarily in federal district courts) New York Times Daily Lesson Plan, September 30, 2005 by Michelle Sale, The New York Times Learning Network, and Javaid Khan, The Bank Street College of Education in New York City

“Strong Convictions: Learning to Write Persuasive Editorials about Current News.” New York Times Daily Lesson Plan, July 24, 2003 by Clayton DeKorne, The New York Times Learning Network, and Tanya Yasmin Chin, The Bank Street College of Education in New York City


Themes from the February 28th session on Managing for Multiple Uses

At each session, we note themes arising in the panel discussion in four categories: problem definition, goals (individual, organizational and for the process itself), sources of conflict, and potential solutions. The list is meant to aid in further discussion on the topic and is not meant to be exhaustive or definitive. The themes are recorded by a volunteer from the enrolled students and auditors. Themes noted with an asterisk (*) were added to the list by Saving Seas instructor Tora Johnson drawing upon her notes on the discussion.

The Problem
Human versus environmental needs
Cumulative impacts of coastal alterations *while each proposal claims little or no impact
Little data available, * especially on ecosystem impacts and cumulative effects
Conflict between access versus preservation
Lack of public education and participation
Lack of trust
Lack of public pressure on government to act on ecosystem-wide scale
* Stakeholder groups too focused on single species or single issue, not the wider view
* Environmental Impact Statement process increasingly bureaucratic & lacks substance
* Regulators can't lead, can't "step out in front" unless Congressional representatives are getting pressure from the public.

Resource protection, enforcing National and Massachusetts Environmental Policy Acts
Collect longitudinal data
Foster trust

Sources of Conflict
Tension over human activities vs. resource protection
Resources are viewed as abstract
Competition among stakeholders for resources and financial benefit
Multiple "ideal" solutions
Regulator mentality versus planning mentality
Inadequate long-term monitoring leaves scientific uncertainty
Semantics and conflicting vocabularies
Lack of trust

Ecosystem-level monitoring
Stakeholder participation in developing action plans
Habitat mapping
Education of public, stakeholders, and * between agencies
Coordination of regional and local planning efforts
Building trust


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