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Integrated Coastal Management
Introduction | Identification | Impacts | Causes | Actions | More Info

Recognizing that coral reefs are influenced by and ecologically part of surrounding habitats such as mangroves and coastal land, society should have an integrated strategy for managing human uses of the area that incorporates the diverse needs of ecosystems and humans. With limited funds and people, issues like agricultural runoff and overfishing are best addressed together to maximize effort and effectiveness. Scenarios like this call for a public process to bring all users together, decide on the best use of the area, ensure its protection and work together in managing the resources. In coastal areas, Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) provides that process and gives a road map for integrating various social needs and issues. There is no single way to implement ICM, but there are general principles including sustainable development.

Coral reefs are poorly managed in many tropical coastal areas around the world. Although each situation is unique, most share some common issues such as:
  • Coral reefs are dependent upon many other habitats from the surrounding waters to the hilltops on land and therefore a management plan is needed that links all of these habitats.

  • People, both wealthy and poor, are migrating to coastal areas often to use the open access of coastal waters.

  • There is great diversity in peoplesí economic and social uses of coastal areas.

  • Governments usually manage each sector individually, such as the fisheries agency for the fish and the environment agency for the coral reef. Agencies will sometimes avoid cooperation in fear that they will loose authority, control, or funding.

  • This sectoral pattern and complex mixture of systems and activities demands that people work together and try to integrate their visions and strategies for how the society wants to sustainably live along the coast.
  • Aerial view of Aruligo, Solomon Islands Location: ICLARM Aquaculture Center Photo by: M. McCoy (from ReefBase: http://www.reefbase.org)
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