INTEGRATED COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT
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INTEGRATED COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT (ICZM)

Kapil Sukhdhane* , Shivappa. M.U. , Harshavardhan D. Joshi#, Kishor K.T.#, Milind B. Katare#, Karankumar K. Ramteke* , Nandakishor Ingole , Amol Kalyanker

#KAFSU, College of Fisheries, Manglore, Karnataka, India

*Central Institute of Fisheries Education, Seven Bunglows, Versova, Andheri (w.),

Mumbai-400061, Maharashtra, India



Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) or integrated coastal management (ICM) is a process for the management of the coastusing an integrated approach, regarding all aspects of the coastal zone, including geographical and political boundaries, in an attempt to achieve sustainability.

This concept was born in 1992 during the Earth Summit of Rio de Janeiro.

The European Commission defines the ICZM as follows:-

ICZM is a dynamic, multidisciplinary and iterative process to promote sustainable management of coastal zones. It covers the full cycle of information collection, planning (in its broadest sense), decision making, management and monitoring of implementation. ICZM uses the informed participation and cooperation of all stakeholders to assess the societal goals in a given coastal area, and to take actions towards meeting these objectives. ICZM seeks, over the long-term, to balance environmental, economic, social, cultural and recreational objectives, all within the limits set by natural dynamics. 'Integrated' in ICZM refers to the integration of objectives and also to the integration of the many instruments needed to meet these objectives. It means integration of all relevant policy areas, sectors, and levels of administration. It means integration of the terrestrial and marine components of the target territory, in both time and space.

To further understand the idea of ICZM several aspects can be defined and further explained. The coastal zone, the concept of sustainability and the term integration all within a coastal management context can be individually defined, while the expectations and framework of ICZM can be further explained. This entry uses the example of the New Zealand national framework to illustrate ICZM.

Defining the Coastal Zone

Defining the Coastal zone is of particular importance to the idea of ICZM. But the fuzziness of borders due to the dynamic nature of the coast makes it difficult to clearly define. Most simply the coast can be thought of as an area of interaction between the land and the ocean. Ketchum (1972) defined the area as:

The band of dry land and adjacent ocean space (water and submerged land) in which terrestrial processes and land uses directly affect oceanic processes and uses, and vice versa.

Issues arise with the diversity of features present on the coast and the spatial scales of the interacting systems. Coasts being dynamic in nature are influenced differently all around the world. Influences such as river systems, may reach far inland increasing the complexity and scale of the zone. These issues make it difficult to clearly identify hinterlands and subscribe any subsequent management.

Whilst acknowledging a physical coastal zone, the inclusion of ecosystems, resources and human activity within the zone is important. It is the human activities that warrant management. These activities are responsible for disrupting the natural coastal systems. To add to the complexity of this zone, administrative boundaries use arbitrary lines that dissect the zone, often leading to fragmented management. This sectored approach focuses on specific activities such as land use and fisheries, often leading to adverse effects in another sector.

The importance of the Coastal Zone and the need for management

The dynamic processes that occur within the coastal zones produce diverse and productive ecosystems which have been of great importance historically for human populations. Coastal margins equate to only 8% of the worlds surface area but provide 25% of global productivity. Stress on this environment comes with approximately 70% of the world's population being within a day's walk of the coast. Two-thirds of the world's cities occur on the coast.

Valuable resources such as fish and minerals are considered to be common property and are in high demand for coastal dwellers for subsistence use, recreation and economic development. Through the perception of common property, these resources have been subjected to intensive and specific exploitation. For example; 90% of the world's fish harvest comes from within national exclusive economic zones, most of which are within the sight of shore. This type of practice has led to a problem that has cumulative effects. The addition of other activities adds to the strain placed on this environment. As a whole, human activity in the coastal zone generally degrades the systems by taking unsustainable quantities of resources. The effects are further exacerbated with the input of pollutant wastes. This provides the need for management. Due to the complex nature of human activity in this zone a holistic approach is required to obtain a sustainable outcome.

The concept of sustainability

The concept behind the idea of ICZM is sustainability. For ICZM to succeed, it must be sustainable. Sustainability entails a continuous process of decision making, so there is never an end-state just a readjustment of the equilibrium between development and the protection of the environment. The concept of Sustainability or sustainable development came to fruition in the 1987 report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, Our Common Future. It stated sustainable development is "to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".

Highlighted are three main standpoints which summarize the idea of Sustainable development, they are:

  • Economic development to improve the quality of life of people

  • Environmentally appropriate development

  • Equitable development

To simplify these points, sustainability should acknowledge the right of humans to live a life that is healthy and productive. It should allow for equal distribution of benefits to all people and in doing so protect the environment through appropriate use.

Sustainability is by no means a set of prescriptive actions, more accurately it is a way of thinking. Adapting this way of thinking paves the way for a longer-term view with a more holistic approach, something successful ICZM can achieve.

Expectations of ICZM

As previously stated, for ICZM to be successful it must adhere to the principles that define sustainability and act upon them in ways that are integrated. An optimal balance between environmental protection and the development of economic and social sectors is paramount. As part of the holistic approach ICZM applies, many aspects within a coastal zone are expected to be considered and accounted for. These include but are not limited to: the spatial, functional, legal, policy, knowledge, and participation dimensions. Below are four identified goals of ICZM:

  • Maintaining the functional integrity of the coastal resource systems;

  • Reducing resource-use conflicts;

  • Maintaining the health of the environment;

  • Facilitating the progress of multicultural development.]'

Failure to include these aspects and goals would lead to a form of unsustainable management, undermining the paradigms explicit to ICZM.

Defining Integration

The term 'integration' can be adopted for many different purposes, it is therefore quite important to define the term in the context of the management of the coastal zone to appreciate the intentions of ICZM. Integration within ICZM occurs in and between many different levels, 5 types of integration that occur within ICZM are explained below;

Integration among sectors: Within the coastal environment there are many sectors that operate. These human activities are largely economic activities such as tourism, fisheries, and port companies. A sense of co-operation between sectors is the main requirement for sector integration within ICZM. This comes from the realisation of a common goal focused around sustainability and the appreciation of one another within the area.

Integration between land and water elements of the coastal zone: This is the realization of the physical environment being a whole. The coastal environment is a dynamic relationship between many processes all of which are interdependent. The link must be made between imposing a change on one system or feature and its inevitable 'flow on' effects.

Integration among levels of government: Between levels of governance, consistency and co-operation is needed throughout planning and policy making. ICZM is most effective where initiatives have common purpose at local, regional, and national levels. Common goals and actions increase efficiency and mitigate confusion.

Integration between nations: This sees ICZM as an important tool on a global scale. If goals and beliefs are common on a supranational scale, large scale problems could be mitigated or avoided.

Integration among disciplines: Throughout ICZM, knowledge should be accepted from all disciplines. All means of scientific, cultural, traditional, political and local expertise need to be accounted for. By including all these elements a truly holistic approach towards management can be achieved.

The term integration in a coastal management context has many horizontal and vertical aspects, which reflects the complexity of the task and it proves a challenge to implement.

ICZM Framework

Management must embrace a holistic viewpoint of the functions that makeup the complex and dynamic nature of interactions in the coastal environment. Management framework must be applied to a defined geographical limit (often complicated) and should operate with a high level of integration. Due to the diverse nature of the world's coastline and coastal environments, it is not possible to create a framework that is 'one-size-fits-all.' Different activities, interests and issues also complicate matters. So management will always be unique to countries, regions and ultimately on a local scale.

A common thought process and decision making framework however, can be fairly uniform as a part of ICZM around the world. To achieve the principles set out in sustainable types of management a step by step process can be adhered to.

Firstly, issues and problems need to be identified and assessments of these need to be quantified. This first step will include integration between government, sectoral entities and local residents. The assessments also have to be broad in their application. Once the issues and problems have been identified and weighted, an effective management plan can be made. The plan will be specific to the area in question. Thirdly, the adoption of the plan can be carried out. They can be legally binding statutory plans, strategies or objectives which are generally quite powerful or they can be non-statutory processes and can act as a guide for future development. This duality is largely beneficial as the future can be taken into account, but still provide for a firm stance based in the present.The fourth step is implementation, this active phase includes; law enforcement, education, development etc. The implementation activities will be of course, be as unique as their environments and can take many forms. The last phase is evaluation of the whole process. The principles of sustainability mean that there is no 'end state.' ICZM is an on-going process which should constantly readjust the equilibrium between economic development and the protection of the environment. Feedback is a crucial part of the process and allows for continued effectiveness even when a situation may change.

Constraints of ICZM

Major constraints of ICZM are mostly institutional, rather than technological. The 'top-down' approach of administrative decision making sees problematisation as a tool promoting ICZM through the idea of sustainability. Community-based 'bottom-up' approaches can perceive problems and issues that are specific to a local area. The benefit of this is that the problems are real and acknowledged rather than searched for to fit an imposed strategy or policy. Public consultation and involvement is very important for current 'top-down' approaches, as it can incorporate this 'bottom-up' idea into the policies made. Prescriptive 'top-down' methods have not able to effectively address problems of resource utilization in poor coastal communities as perceptions of the coastal zone differ with regard to developed and developing countries. This leads on to another constraint to ICZM, the idea of common property.

The coastal environment has huge historical and cultural connections with human activity. Its wealth of resources have provided for millennia, with regard to ICZM how does management become legally binding if the dominant perception of the coast is of a common area available to all? And should it? Enforcing restrictions or change to activities within the coastal zone can be difficult as these resources are often very important to people's livelihoods. The idea of the coast being common property fouls 'top-down' approaches. The idea of common property itself is not all that clean, This perception can lead to cumulative exploitation of resources — the very problem this management seeks to extinguish.


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