Adopting new approaches and tools for fisheries management that address wider social, economic, ecological and political concerns and that are integrated vertically across scale and horizontally across sectors, requires new skills, knowledge and attitudes from those involved. In many situations change has been introduced at a pace that managers, and community members find difficult to understand and respond to. Getting the speed of change right is very important to successful management change.
The increased focus on the need to integrate fisheries management into wider economic systems is reflected in a move towards a more integrated, multi-sector, and ecosystem-based management in recent years (White et al., 2006). The increased use of ICM as an approach to wider ecological management systems in the coast also necessitates a change of institutional and organizational structure for the different roles and responsibilities. This has required building of skills and qualifications across different ministries/ departments to ensure a commonality of purpose, methods and language. The difficulty of this process should not be underestimated as experience in ICM in the Philippines has shown (See Box 20).
During discussions with experts, the challenge of finding means of communication of ideas about complex management issues that are accessible to those who are unfamiliar with the terminology and concepts was highlighted. Several respondents referred to experience where foreign experts in ecosystem-based management approaches attempted to explain extremely complex ideas to local or national counterparts using language that was largely inaccessible to them, rather than attempting to break these concepts down into more “digestible” elements and build up understanding of the more complex issues incrementally.
Christie and White, (2006) also note that the adoption of ICM approaches and other comprehensive frameworks such as EBM should be developed incrementally, building on past practice to match human and fiscal capacities. White et al. (2006) suggest that incentives for local government to move in the direction of change in support of ICM is often needed.