Coastal resources are often managed by more than one agency (e.g. different branches of the government, private, and community organisations) at different political scales (local, municipal, state, national, and international) and in distinct sectors of an economy (e.g. fisheries, tourism, urban development, maritime transportation, and oil drilling). For instance, fisheries departments at any governmental level usually deal with regulations concerning only access to, and use of, fish stocks. Little attention is given to the fact that fishing areas and fishers’ livelihoods are affected by other economic activities taking place at the same time and in the same locality. This lack of co-ordination in managing coastal areas usually results in conflict among usergroups, environmental degradation, and resource overexploitation. Such situations call for an improvement in both crossscale and cross-sector efforts to develop integrated coastal management.
Efforts towards integrated coastal management may occur at different scales from the local to the national. An example of the national and state level effort is the Train-Sea-Coast Programme in Brazil which included representatives of several national and state governmental and non-governmental organisations, environmental institutions, universities, and financing agencies associated with coastal and ocean development (Reis et al. 1999). What is often missing in these nation-wide efforts, however, is input from resource users and other stakeholders. According to the Lisbon Principles (Costanza et al. 1998, 1999), full stakeholder participation in formulating and implementing decisions about environmental resources is one of the key principles for promoting sustainable governance of the oceans and coastal areas (Table 8.1). This is particularly true in the case of multifaceted conflicts about resource use, which require a participatory resolution process (Hanna and Smith 1993). User-participation in decision-making helps to increase the transparency and legitimacy of the process and, ultimately, compliance (McCay and Jentoft 1996).
Although nation-wide efforts towards integrated coastal management are important, solutions to specific problems should be tackled at the scale that matches the problem to be solved (Folke et al. 1997). Thus, efforts focusing on a particular locality using participatory approaches are likely to solve local management problems more effectively than regional or national approaches. Identifying stakeholder conflicts and their origins, together with stakeholder concerns, may be a first step towards an integrated coastal management.