Progress is being made internationally on an ecosystem approach to the management of marine systems, in particular as applied to ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM; FAO 2003; Hollowed et al. 2011). PICES has contributed to this progress and explored regional applications to the North Pacific, through the activities of the ecosystem based management Study Group and Working Group reports (Jamieson et al. 2005; 2010). Recent initiatives have expanded the concept of ecosystem approaches to include people in what have been called coupled marine social-ecological systems (e.g., De Young et al. 2008; Ommer et al. 2011). PICES has also contributed to these initiatives (Makino and Fluharty 2011) and has recently formed a focus expert group to develop the human dimensions to marine ecosystems within the organization (Section on Human Dimensions, S-HD). The second PICES integrative science program, FUTURE (Forecasting and Understanding Trends, Uncertainty and Responses of North Pacific Marine Ecosystems), also has significant activities and strong linkages with ecosystems and people, through its Advisory Panels on Anthropogenic Influences on Coastal Ecosystems (AP-AICE) and on Status, Outlooks, Forecasts and Engagement (AP-SOFE).
Very recently, the concept of human well-being within marine social-ecological systems has become recognized as an important step forward (Coulthard et al. 2011; Charles 2012). Well-being shifts the perspective from objective measures of sustainable livelihoods (comprised of the physical, social, human, natural, and financial resources available to a community or country) to include the subjective or perceived well-being of individuals and communities. This represents a shift from people as exploiters of the ocean to people as integral components of resource sustainability and ecosystem health (Coulthard et al. 2011; Charles 2012). Therefore, taking account of the dynamics of livelihoods and application of well-being can help in the development of policies supporting sustainable and resilient marine social-ecological systems (Charles 2012).
The Japanese concept of Sato-umi represents one version of this humans-in-nature approach, in which a healthy ecosystem is seen to nourish human well-being, but human activities are seen as necessary for sustaining ecosystem health. Sato means community or village, and umi means sea. Therefore, Sato-umi refers to marine environments that have long-standing relationships with human communities, and in which human interactions have resulted in high marine productivity and biodiversity (Makino 2011, p. 126; Makino and Fluharty 2011; see also the Japan Sub-Global Assessments conducted by UN University and the Convention on Biological Diversity CBD Technical Series #61). One example is the sea grass re-establishment and recovery activities undertaken by local community members near Yokohama. Similar types of sea grass and kelp restoration activities have been proposed by local communities in the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia. The Japanese government has undertaken integrated studies to assess the contributions of social, cultural, economic, and ecological aspects in “Sato-umi” type projects in Japan.
In December 2011, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) of Japan, through the Fisheries Agency of Japan (JFA), approved funding for a 5-year PICES project on “Marine ecosystem health and human well-being”. The project began in April 2012, and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2017. This contribution is from the Official Development Assistance (ODA) Fund of Japan and therefore, involvement of developing Pacific Rim countries in activities is required under this project. The project is directed by a Project Science Team, currently co-chaired by Drs. Mitsutaku Makino (Fisheries Research Agency, Japan, firstname.lastname@example.org) and Ian Perry (Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ian.Perry@dfo-mpo.gc.ca). The Co-Chairmen of the Project Science Team serve as the Project Scientific Coordinators and are responsible for reporting annually to the PICES Science Board on the scientific implementation of the project.
The project goal is to identify the relationships between sustainable human communities and productive marine ecosystems in the North Pacific, under the concept of fishery social-ecological systems. In Japan, this concept attracts attention as the “Sato-umi” fisheries management system. It recognizes that global changes are affecting both climate and human social and economic conditions. Key questions of the project are: (a) How do marine ecosystems support human well-being? and (b) How do human communities support sustainable and productive marine ecosystems? The project is also intended to foster partnerships with non-PICES member countries and related international organizations and programs.
Summer 2015, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 31 [download]
A good relationship between local communities and seafood diversity
Summer 2015, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 28-30 [download]
A psychological perspective on “Human Well-Being"
Summer 2013, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 18-19 [download]
PICES-MAFF Project on Marine Ecosystem Health and Human Well-Being: Indonesia Workshop
Summer 2013, Vol. 21, No. 1, pp. 26-28 [download]
New PICES MAFF-Sponsored Project on “Marine Ecosystem Health and Human Well-Being”