How the oil industry's push created Integrated Ocean Governance

The Norwegian integrated management plan for the Lofoten–Barents Sea areas (BSMP) was initiated in 2002 following an international push for implementing ecosystem-based management, as well as a national drive to make new areas available for petroleum exploitation. Governance of the plan was achieved through an inter-ministerial steering group working through its underlying institutions that have been tasked to work together during both development and implementation. This has achieved a high degree of integration across sectors and between government levels. Having the dual objectives of sustainable exploitation and conservation gives rise to a conflict over whether or not to allow petroleum industry access to the ecologically most valuable and vulnerable areas. There was an attempt at resolving this conflict by acquiring more knowledge, but the conflict is fundamentally a value-based question, which is impossible to resolve by gathering empirical knowledge alone. Nevertheless, the BSMP has been a positive vehicle for increasing the legitimacy of the complex decisions a modern society has to take in the management of ocean resources.


Research Article: E.Olsen et al. (2016): "How Integrated Ocean governance in the Barents Sea was created by a drive for increased oil production", Marine Policy 67.

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