Ferge over fjorden. Foto: Håvard Boge

The results of the Coreplan project will be of benefit to coastal planners worldwide, but to gain knowledge we are studying the planning processes of three regions in particular: Hordaland, Troms and British Columbia (Canada).

Common to all three regions is the fact that they have been through highly complex planning processes involving many conflicting interests, activities and demanding priorities among different ecosystem services.

We will examine the challenges faced by these areas and the way in which their management has been organized. The project will provide answers to questions such as the following:

  • What characterizes the key ecosystem services and their use?
  • What values can be established regarding ecosystem services?
  • How is management conducted today?
  • What tools does management have at its disposal?
  • How is knowledge gained, who produces it and what methods are used to produce knowledge?
  • How can a system used to identify and determine the value of ecosystem services fit into the management models that already exist?

Norway and Canada

We examine the planning processes in Norway and Canada as these two countries have many similarities, both as coastal nations and highly-developed democracies with strong export industries. Both countries have large sections of their population living in coastal areas and strong fisheries organizations that have experienced controversy due to a growing coastal aquaculture industry. However, the two countries have very different management and coastal planning systems, and the controversies concerning the use of coastal resources have also had very different outcomes.

In Hordaland and Troms, the coastal zone planning processes are conducted in different ways (for example, Coastal Zone Plan for Kvænangen, Coastal Plan for Central and South Troms, Coastal Plan for the Tromsø region, Coastal Plan for Sunnhordland and Outer Hardanger). The above counties were chosen partly because extensive planning processes have recently been completed in both areas, and the processes there have been complex with different forms of organization and procedure.

British Columbia was chosen because this region has experienced conflicts of interest between various users of the coastal zone, particularly between local fishermen, foresters, tourism operators and sea farmers, as well as in relation to indigenous rights.

Comparing the selected regions in Canada and Norway gives us the opportunity to learn from the experiences of people living and working in these areas. It can also point to limitations in theoretical concepts and their applications. We believe we can learn a great deal from these processes and, consequently, be able to make recommendations on how to deal with future conflicts in the coastal zone.