Management of marine resources globally strives to achieve sustainable development by balancing resource extraction, biodiversity conservation, and societal acceptability. However, these three philosophical paradigms tend to stand as monolithic pillars in their approaches to sustainability. Consequently, such un-integrated approaches tend to lead to conflicted management objectives and policy goals. These conflicts are often rooted in competing economic, ecological, and societal values. MENSA aims to develop an integrated ethical approach to the sustainable management of Norwegian seascape activities. Seascapes, analogous to landscapes, are a linking concept, representing the intersections of land and sea, nature and culture, and science and art. MENSA is harnessing this multiplicity of seascape imageries and meanings, evoking both emotion and reason, to engage the values, identities, and knowledge of Norwegian marine stakeholders (e.g., government representatives, scientific experts, industry members, and non-governmental organizations), as well as citizens, to sustain Norway´s seascapes.
MENSA´s objectives are threefold:
1. To advance theoretical understanding of marine values and identities using the seascape concept.
2. To elicit diverse values and identities related to seascapes in Norway using a novel methodology.
3. To identify and evaluate value trade-offs and reconcile marine resource conflicts by integrating preferences of Norwegian stakeholders and citizens with modelling of value-based management scenarios.
The knowledge being gained in MENSA is contributing to an ethical governance framework for the science-society-policy nexus to help resolve disputes related to competing uses and protection of marine resources. MENSA serves as a proof-of-concept model at the national level for how to reconcile value trade-offs inherent in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, notably SDG 14 (Life Below Water), 15 (Life on Land), and 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions), to achieve not only sustainable, but also ethical development.
In the first phase of the MENSA project, the main work and outcomes towards these three objectives include:
1. Development of ideas and new conceptual understanding of marine values and identities, informed by participation in international conferences and meetings, as well as their publication and broad dissemination.
2. Design of the methodology by collecting seascape images and mapping relevant contextual conditions (top-down and bottom-up) of marine management and policy in Norway from governmental policy documents, public debates, and academic literature.
3. Ecological modelling of value-based management scenarios for the Norwegian spring-spawning herring fishery, as a case study for evaluation of value trade-offs in marine management.
Preparations are underway for the next phase of the project, empirical data collection, which will include both surveys and more in-depth case studies in fishing and coastal communities, as well as inland communities. The survey design is inspired by the project´s conceptual understanding of values and identities and international literature, but adapted to Norwegian themes and conditions. The project is registered in RETTE and NSD.
Management of marine resources, globally and in Norway, strives to achieve sustainable development by balancing resource extraction, biodiversity conservation, and societal acceptability. However, these philosophical paradigms tend to approach sustainability monolithically through rationalization, conservation, and community, respectively, leading to conflicted management objectives and policy goals rooted in competing economic, ecological, and social values. MENSA’s overarching aim is to develop an integrated ethical approach to the sustainable management of Norwegian seascape activities intersecting land and sea by making explicit the values and valuation of the sea and negotiating the ensuing trade-offs with the input of diverse marine stakeholders and citizens.
MENSA’s objectives are threefold:
1. To contribute to a theoretical understanding of marine resource values and valuation in seascapes, informed by niche construction theory and sense of place empirical research.
2. To elicit societal values of the seas and coasts and activities associated with marine resources in Norway using the seascape concept and imagery in a novel methodology.
3. To evaluate value trade-offs and negotiate resource conflicts with Norwegian stakeholders by integrating ecological and oceanographic modelling of scenarios with elicited value priorities in an ethical framework for management strategy evaluation.
The knowledge gained in MENSA can contribute to ethical governance that can resolve disputes related to competing uses or protection of coastal and marine resources. This can serve as a proof-of-concept model at the national level for how to reconcile value trade-offs toward sustainable development. Such trade-offs must be reconciled to achieve the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): MENSA focuses on SDG 14 (Life Below Water), SDG 15 (Life on Land), and SDG 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions).