Marine and coastal ecosystems have evolved over many millennia into what we see today. Without human intervention, the only threats to these ecosystems were natural disasters, such as volcanic eruptions or earthquakes, and geological shifts such as the ice ages.
Marine and coastal ecosystems have been shaped and formed by the impact of these damaging and large-scale natural events throughout geological history. But never in the history of this planet has one species had such a dramatic impact on the marine environment. Over a short time period, humans have wrought such tremendous and ruinous changes that adaptation is often impossible, leading to ecosystem demise and species extinction.
Therefore, when we think about managing a marine and coastal ecosystem for both biodiversity and food security, we are generally talking about managing people, their behavior and their relationship to natural resources. As such, appropriate communication skills are an essential and integral component of any marine and coastal manager’s (or team’s) skills portfolio.