Failing that, we need technologies such as building sewage treatm

Failing that, we need technologies such as building sewage treatment works and nutrient stripping. While our science and technology can indicate the best means of environmental protection, we need society to accept these measures. Society may desire certain things, such as clean bathing areas, or tolerate others such as having its sewage discharged into the sea because this appears a cheaper option than treatment. However, society needs to be aware of the societal benefits of a clean and managed marine environment but also the ability of the sea to assimilate or support its demands, what might be termed the societal carrying capacity.

Above all, societal health and a quality of life have to be maintained. This means selleckchem we have to acknowledge the ‘feel-good factor’, that society acknowledges the value of maintaining a good marine environment (Mee et al., 2008) but also that society may only focus on high profile aspects, the ‘cute-and-cuddly’ approach and on ‘charismatic megafauna’ such as birds and whales. In short, can we accommodate a society with

both ‘tree-huggers’ and ‘industrial warriors’? Although often as scientists we focus on the ecological significance of change or even the statistical significance, we have to be aware of the societal significance of change – if society thinks there is a problem in the marine environment then by definition there is a problem selleck chemical to be addressed even if we as scientists cannot detect it. Hence this tenet requires we look for cost-effective approaches and consult and engage with the public, NGOs and all stakeholders. There are increasing examples

of marine management which involve public participation but we have to be aware of Vasopressin Receptor the danger of all stakeholders agreeing to a ‘lowest-common-denominator’; for example, if we ask stakeholders where to site a Marine Protected Area then the agreed area may be one that is not wanted for any other activity (i.e. the MPA being not suitable for aggregate extraction, wind-farms, fishing, etc). In the case of nutrients, organic pollution and eutrophication, we need to know that society is willing to fund the technological and economic aspects, that it desires a high quality environment in which its recreation areas are not affected by algal mats or toxic blooms. Conversely we need to know whether society tolerates a poor environmental quality, and any other socio-economic repercussions if nutrients are discharged. In the case of the marine environment, however, those living in the catchments have to be made aware that even if their sewage discharges do not directly affect their quality of life, there are consequences downstream in the estuaries and coastal zones which will ultimately affect them.

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