Local empowerment through the creation of coastal space?
Developments in national fisheries and marine environmental policies during the last 30 years have changed the relationship between coastal communities and the marine resources that people in these communities traditionally harvested. In Norway, for example, when the state authorities have made decisions to defend what they regard as national interests, the local level has been left with authority over minor issues related to area planning in the coastal zone. Although coastal planning until recently was about sharing fishing areas between different users, we now see a spatial dimension emerging in planning, giving it a much broader scope. The processes of defining spatial properties and creating coastal space as a governable object have the potential to empower local communities. These processes contribute to enhanced local control and improved local participation in the governance of natural resources. In Norway, the 2008 Planning and Building Act strengthened the role of municipalities in local planning. In addition, the application of a new three-dimensional, spatial approach to coastal planning may create opportunities for new control over local resources. In marine spatial planning (MSP) the natural resources are seen as part of coastal spatial properties; thus, governing of sea space implies resource governance. As our examples illustrate, considerable power is associated with the ability to identify and define the properties of coastal space. MSP could become an important tool for controlling local resources, rebuilding collapsed fisheries, and managing them sustainably at the level of municipalities.
SiteringEcology and Society 19(2): 60, 2014
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