Dynamic Ocean Management: Integrating Scientific and Technological Capacity with Law, Policy, and Management


The ocean is a dynamic environment with ocean currents and winds moving surface waters across large distances. Many animals that live in the ocean, particularly in offshore regions, are mobile in space and in time, as are most human users. Spatial management responses have typically partitioned the ocean into different regions with fixed management boundaries; in some regions a particular activity may be forbidden; in another it may be permitted but regulated; and in others it may be allowed without any regulation. In contrast, dynamic ocean management (DOM) changes in space and time in response to the shifting nature of the ocean and its users. DOM techniques have been applied in a limited number of situations around the world, notably for fisheries, to regulate or restrict the capture of a particular marine species. DOM requires scientific, technological, management, legal, and policy capacity across a range of elements. The article outlines seven of these elements and describes requirements and challenges for their implementation. Specifically, the elements considered are: (1) tools and data collection, (2) data upload and management, (3) data processing, (4) data delivery, (5) decision-making, (6) implementation, and (7) enforcement. Not all elements may be required and not all management, policy, and legal issues will be relevant to all applications. However, these elements represent major considerations in the application of DOM. Overall, we find that the scientific and technological capacity for DOM is strong but there are a range of underutilized policy applications. We give examples of how these policies could be expanded to provide for a broader application of dynamic ocean management. There are distinct regional variations in the capacity to implement these elements whether on a voluntary or compulsory basis. To use DOM effectively, the science and technology required for DOM needs to be better integrated with the enabling policy.


Stanford University Stanford, California
  • Alistair J. Hobday et al.,┬áDynamic Ocean Management: Integrating Scientific and Technological Capacity with Law, Policy, and Management, vol 33 Stanford Environmental Law Journal 125 (2014).
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