Many ecosystem-based terms have been generated to promote more holistic approaches to the management of natural resources. Within Australia, despite the progress made toward applying these concepts to fisheries management, the multitude of terms has often caused stakeholder confusion.
A national workshop concluded that ecologically sustainable development (ESD; known elsewhere as sustainable development) should be the overall goal for government and that the other terms discussed (ecosystem-based management, ecosystem-based fisheries management, etc.) described strategies
that should be used by various agencies and industry sectors to work toward this goal. All ecosystem-based approaches can cover the direct and indirect environmental impacts, social and economic outcomes, and governance systems associated with an activity. The main difference among them is
the scope of the regions and activities covered and therefore the breadth of issues to be managed. A hierarchy of ESD-related frameworks and tools, designed to operate at a number of levels (the individual fisher, local and multiregional management agencies), is described, and the elements
needed for their implementation (correct scope, transparency, inclusiveness, measurable objectives) are discussed. These results from Australia should be directly relevant to the implementation of ecosystem-based approaches in other locations.
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