Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


This paper investigates essential elements of marine resource management programs, particularly how they are initiated and what is needed for their success. The focus of this paper is on management planning for sites where marine resources are still largely intact as opposed to those which are severely disturbed. Planning is aimed at determining carrying capacity of the marine systems and limiting disturbances accordingly. Question for this inquiry were developed from research of a bay in eastern Maine where marine resources have not been severely disturbed, but are vulnerable to over-exploitation due to lack of coordinated management. Using these questions, five programs in three countries are analyzed for common themes. Many innovations and common themes are evident despite very different settings. Each program is built upon clear understanding of the area's scientific, social, economic, political and regulatory barriers to marine resource management. Ingredients critical to success in these five programs have been: a clear problem, local commitment and leadership, an economy tied to local marine resources, support and collaboration - but not control - from all pertinent levels of government and non-governmental organizations, ecologically based plans which encourage "sustainable" economic uses, marine research and monitoring, education for stewardship, an open and balanced public process, and broad participation. The lack of quantifiable evaluation measures may inhibit both the growth of these programs and transfer of their essential elements to other sites. However, themes shared so widely may be worth emulating when creating other such programs.