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Sustainable Coastal Development

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 10, 2013 12:09 PM

Themes in Coastal Habitats: Sustainable Coastal Development



Integrated coastal management (ICM) -- concept that embraces actions that allow people to prosper and the environment to thrive -- is a tool for achieving sustainable forms of development. Sustainable development in coastal areas strives to encourage social well-being and economic growth and prosperity, while minimizing the negative impacts of economic activities on the ecosystem.

The Coastal Resources Management Program (CRMP) has worked actively to promote the sustainable development of coastal tourism and mariculture. These industries offer employment and income opportunities for people living in economically deprived coastal areas. In many places tourism and mariculture growth is explosive and poorly planned, giving rise to detrimental environmental impacts that cumulatively undermine the economic sustainability of the industry itself. CRMP has helped to address these and other economic activities that are bringing both opportunities and conflicts to coastal areas. The approach used includes working with the government, private industry and communities to set policy, prepare permitting guidance, develop good practices, and strengthen regulatory rules and guidelines.

Mariculture, especially shrimp farming, has undergone explosive growth in many of the countries where CRMP has worked. Governance mechanisms are often inadequate to prevent the unplanned and unregulated over-development of mariculture operations in specific estuaries and stretches of the coast, leading to declines in water quality, disease, user conflicts and ultimately reduction in mariculture productivity. 


Shrimp farming was a central focus of the Ecuador initiative as early as 1984. In Honduras and Mexico, CRMP has partnered with shrimp farm industry groups and other stakeholders to develop and adopt good management practices that both reduce environmental impacts and improve efficiency. Extension and training materials have been produced with private sector and university partners in Nicaragua and Honduras with the goal of building individual farmers' capacity to implement sustainable practices.

This voluntary and cooperative approach to environmental management of the shrimp mariculture industry is being adapted for use in the region of Bahia Santa Maria, Mexico.

Shrimp farming is also a predominant economic activity and driving force of ecosystem degradation in coastal areas of Indonesia. A pilot project in the coastal village of Pematang Pasir,  in Sumatra, is working with producers, community organizations, and government to enhance capacity for self-management.

In Tanzania, where little mariculture currently exists, the central government and CRMP are proactively promoting development in a way that is environmentally sound. Guidelines for government decisionmaking authority and  permitting procudures for investors have been formulated and approved by the key government agencies. In addition, a Mariculture Guidelines Source Book has been prepared that includes technical information for siting and operating different types of mariculture enterprises.

Tourism represents one of the most important sources of revenue and foreign exchange for many coastal nations. In Mexico, it is the driving force for economic development in the state of Quintana Roo. The integrated coastal management project in Quintana Roo, building from earlier experience in Sri Lanka, collaborated with universities, business, NGOs and government to produce guidelines for low-impact tourism development. While practices are promoted for voluntary use, they have also been incorporated in permit government review procedures.








In Quintana Roo, Mexico, tourism is the driving force for economic development.

In Tanzania, there is still relatively little coastal tourism, but it is growing rapidly. The CRMP project has formed a tourism interagency working group, the first activity of which was to prepare and present a Coastal Tourism Situation Analysis to government agency directors in 2001. The working group is now developing guidelines for environmentally, socially and economically sound tourism development.

It is important to look at the regional scale of planning and the country's overall economic development strategy when building capacity for sustainable development of these economic activities. In Ecuador, macrozoning tools and analysis proved to be effective in formulating development strategies based on environmental considerations, social needs and economic opportunities.




RESOURCES: Sustainable Coastal Development
















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