July 17, 2020
A Transition To Sustainable Ocean Governance
Publisher: Nature Communications
Funders: David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, Inc.
Human wellbeing relies on the Biosphere, including natural resources provided by ocean ecosystems. As multiple demands and stressors threaten the ocean, transformative change in ocean governance is required to maintain the contributions of the ocean to people. Here we illustrate how transition theory can be applied to ocean governance. We demonstrate how current economic and social systems can adapt to existing pressures and shift towards ocean stewardship through incorporation of niche innovations within and across economic sectors and stakeholder communities. These novel approaches support an emergent but purposeful transition and suggest a clear path to a thriving and vibrant relationship between humans and the ocean. Oceans provide important natural resources, but the management and governance of the ocean is complex and the ecosystem is suffering as a result. The authors discuss current barriers to sustainable ocean governance and suggest pathways forward.