Management Approaches

Tailor measures to circumstances

The sustainable development of coastal and marine areas requires the application of a suite of measures tailored to local, national, and regional circumstances. The suitability of a given measure usually depends less upon its inherent technical merits than upon benefits and costs relative to other measures, the priority of the issue that it addresses, and - perhaps most importantly - the prospects for implementing it effectively. Implementation, in turn, depends upon applying a range of appropriate policy instruments, including regulatory and economic instruments, the promotion of voluntary action by industry, and public and private investment.
 
[There are] four categories of technical measures (source reduction, stress reduction, impact reduction, and mitigation), three types of policy instruments (regulatory instruments, economic instruments, and the promotion of voluntary initiatives), and appropriate conditions and tools for their implementation.
 
Measures to reduce the anthropogenic degradation of coastal and marine environments can address environmental problems at different stages in the sequence that leads up to it. Conceptually, it is preferable to address environmental risks earlier rather than later in this sequence: prevention is better than cure. In practice, however, this is not necessarily the case, either because of technical constraints (e.g., it may not be possible to avoid producing a harmful by-product) or cost-benefit considerations (e.g., it may be cheaper to remove a contaminant by treatment than to avoid producing it), or because degradation has already occurred.

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