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Local empowerment through the creation of coastal space?

Jahn Petter Johnsen, Norwegian College of Fishery Science, University of Tromsø, The Arctic University of Norway
Bjørn Hersoug, Norwegian College of Fishery Science, University of Tromsø, The Arctic University of Norway


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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.

Key words

coastal governance; coastal space; marine spatial planning

Copyright © 2014 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087