Enhancing coastal and marine management through research, stakeholder engagement, and bridging the gap between science and policy

    Impact: Environment impacts, Economy impacts, Science impacts, Policy impacts

    Description of impact *

    The oceans cover approximately 70% of the Earth’s surface area, and yet much of the diversity of species and conditions of coastal and marine ecosystems are still poorly known. Moreover, coastal and marine ecosystems are increasingly being threatened by various human activities, such as shoreline development, fishing, pollution from oil and gas industries, and global climate change. Whilst there are ongoing initiatives to support conservation and management of coastal and marine ecosystems across the globe, innovative and yet practical solutions are still needed to mitigate the overexploitation of resources, alleviate the negative impacts of human activities, and adapt to climate change. Coming up with environmental solutions require the use of different datasets and modelling, particularly spatial analyses, to be able to provide scientific recommendations that factors large-scale processes and local contextual settings. Furthermore, close collaborations with non-government organisations, regional to local decision-makers, and other research institutions is necessary to improve coastal and marine ecosystem management. Our broad research on coastal and marine ecosystems management are continually contributing the following impacts:

    1)Providing scientific recommendations to support marine spatial planning activities in the Western Indian Ocean, which includes development of regional strategies and spatial plans for the establishment of conservation areas within countries and in areas beyond national jurisdiction (e.g., Regional Marine Spatial Planning Strategy for the Western Indian Ocean, Kenya - Tanzania marine transboundary conservation area) (impact level = benefit);

    2)Evaluation of spatial management strategies (e.g., Development of the Western Indian Ocean Marine Protected Areas Outlook Report) and human and environmental changes in port cities (e.g., Port city development in Kenya and South Africa)

    3)Providing scientific basis for coastal and marine management decisions through the applications of marine spatial ecology, coral reef ecology, fish biology, fisheries, and climate science research (e.g., Billfish research in the Indian Ocean; Understanding larval connectivity on coral reef ecosystems);

    4)Enhancing science-based policymaking by bridging the gap between researchers and decision-makers in the region (i.e., Western Indian Ocean Science-to-Policy Program); and,

    5)Strengthening collaborations and partnerships by providing technical resources for capacity building activities and fundraising.
    Impact date1 Jan 2016
    Category of impactEnvironment impacts, Economy impacts, Science impacts, Policy impacts
    Impact levelBenefit (mid)