Integral Ecology: a new tool for fishery management

Tissot, Brian N., Washington State Univ., Vancouver, WA

Fishery management requires dynamically incorporating biology, ecology, political-economy and sociology into an
integrated approach. Integral theory was developed by Ken Wilber to describe organic evolution in four co-occurring
dimensions: the behavioral, systems, cultural and experiential quadrants. I use Integral Ecology to analyze
a multiple-use conflict with an ornamental reef fishery in Hawai`i that uses community-based management of nine
marine protected areas as a process to promote sustainable resources. The approach illustrates how the normally
joyful experiences of snorklers and divers on coral reefs resulted in negative interactions with ornamental fish
collectors. These long-term conflicts were eventually transformed into social movements attempting to ban
collecting, legislative establishment of MPAs, and eventual ecological change on the reef. Although human conflict
was reduced and sustainability was promoted, lack of acknowledgment of different worldviews of fishery
management contributes to continued conflict and illustrates a component of the system that needs further attention.
Integral ecology thus serves as a useful tool to examine the coupled dynamics of natural and social systems and
provides a holistic view of the complex components of the interaction and a new view of sustainability.

Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Society of Naturalists, Long Beach, CA, Nov. 2003.



Last update: 1/25/2005