Coastal and Ocean Science-Based Decision-Making in the Gulf of California: Lessons and Opportunities for Improvement
Abstract:The Gulf of California hosts astounding biodiversity that supports numerous economic activities in the region. These activities, and emerging threats, are placing pressure on the region's ecosystems. Government and civil society are working to address threats through several conservation and management mechanisms. Nevertheless, the use and incorporation of scientific information—a key component for creating effective and durable management—is still deficient. This article presents the concept of science integration and discusses the findings of a study that assesses the regional landscape, existing institutional arrangements, and capacity for using science to inform policy and management decisions. It also explores the current use of science within fisheries policy and management and the capacity of the National Network of Information and Research of Fisheries and Aquaculture (RENIIPA) and the State Fisheries and Aquaculture Councils, two mechanisms in the region. Finally, it shares lessons learned and offers recommendations on how the region can strengthen science-based decision-making. Results indicate that while there are some actors in the Gulf of California producing relevant science, there is varying capacity of intermediary groups connecting producers with users of science, or mechanisms in place to ensure that science is being utilized in decision-making processes. Moreover, despite having a well-developed landscape of producers and intermediaries and mechanisms in place for fisheries management in the region, effective science integration is not occurring.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Blue Earth Consultants, Oakland,California, USA
Publication date: November 1, 2012