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The Road Towards Koster Sea National Park - Potentials and Challenges of Implementing Ecosystem Based and Participatory Maritime Management

Författare Andrea Morf
Ulrika Dagård
Jenny Eriksson
Anders Godhe
Förlag University of Gothenburg
Förlagsort Göteborg
Publiceringsår 2011
Publicerad vid Institutionen för globala studier, humanekologi
Institutionen för marin ekologi
Språk en
Ämnesord Co-management, participation, conflict managment, conservation-planning, ecosystem approach, ecosystem based management, integrative coastal zone management, marine spatial planning, marine national park
Ämneskategorier Miljövetenskap, Fysisk planläggning, Översiktlig planering, Vilt- och fiskeförvaltning, Miljö- och naturvårdsvetenskap, Studier av offentlig förvaltning, Tvärvetenskapliga studier, Empirisk konfliktforskning


This report provides results from a comprehensive analysis of the process leading towards Koster Sea national park, Sweden’s first marine national park. International pressure for participatory and ecosystem based management of marine resources is increasing (e.g. Convention of Biodiversity or EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy, Marine Strategy Directive, and ICZM-recommendations). Introducing integrative, participatory management of marine resources to a centralist, sector-based system of governance as in Sweden presents challenges. Various management experiments are under way. An interesting one combines protection and sustainable use in Sweden’s most valuable marine cold-water habitats: Koster Sea national park was inaugurated 2009 in parallel to the Norwegian park Ytre Hvaler and covers a large part of the archipelago and territorial waters in the municipalities of Tanum and Strömstad. The park makes an example for innovative marine management. The road towards it has been long and curvy. In the wake of proposals and protests, a process of community development with an integrative sustainability perspective has developed through an intensive dialogue between authorities and local stakeholders. After 30 years of recurring clashes locals and authorities agree that ecological and cultural values can be protected and used at the same time – under the condition that these uses are designed to be long-term sustainable, and evaluated and developed further in collaboration. Top-down management has met bottom-up initiative. Conservation is no more seen as a dead end by the users but as providing potential for rural development with sustainable tourism. The park’s goals include conservation, education, and sustainable use. Locals are not merely tolerated but an important part in the park's co-management structure – the steering committee Koster Sea Delegation and its working groups. Many participants are interested in analysing this process, which they call the ”Koster Sea Dialogue” in order to learn from it. The participation-process has been documented by the project “The Road Towards Koster Sea National Park”, financed by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. The study focused on the process, its drivers, the institutional framework, participation, stakeholders’ roles and networks, and conflict management. Methods include semi-structured interviews, observation and document analysis. An important process characteristic has been the long-term, active involvement of those living and working in the area. Local perspectives and knowledge have reached authorities to a larger extent than usual, making solutions adapted to local circumstances. Another characteristic is a linking of fisheries and local socio-economic development with conservation. The use of a rural development perspective, an evolving collaboration over years and active individuals at many levels have been important too. Researchers at the local marine research station have been important knowledge bearers and defenders of conservation but also translators and mediators in clashes between conservation and use. Other, more “usual” factors have been political interest, time, and resources. However, delegating the responsibility for a participation process to locals and letting it develop ad-hoc has its challenges. In rural areas it is important to proceed with care. Here, individuals are a main driving force – on leisure time. It cannot be expected from all to have the skills and resources for process leadership. People depend on each other and may be reluctant to confront neighbors. Conflicts easily become destructive if escalated. Locally based, ad-hoc process management allows for adaptation to local needs but is less transparent for outsiders. Continuous collaboration over years builds trust among those involved. On the flip side, an insider-elite with access to knowledge but little time to work with outreach may unintentionally be excluding others. Even if delegated to local forces, such processes require authorities’ back up with financial and other resources. The planning is concluded; implementation has just begun. Assessing the process from an adaptive co-management and ecosystem approach perspective – using criteria such as integration along various dimensions, adaptation and learning, participation, and a sustainable development perspective integrating ecological limits with socio-economic needs – the process and its institutional arrangements score relatively high. Some things need to be developed further: • A larger scale marine planning perspective including uses and environment in the surroundings. • The management system with working groups and the roles of the Delegation. • An more structured communication and participation planning and readiness for conflict management. • Monitoring effects in all three dimensions of sustainable development: ecological, social, economic. • Developing structures for organizational learning.

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