Advancing an Ecosystem Approach in the Gulf of Maine

Linking Science to Management and Policy through Strategic Communication

Verna DeLauer, Susan Ryan, Ivar Babb, Peter Taylor, and Pam DiBona


Abstract.—In this paper, we synthesize the current thinking of scientists involved in the 2009 Gulf of Maine Symposium about successes and challenges in communicating the science underlying ecosystem-based management (EBM) and summarize the evolution of this issue as reflected in past Gulf of Maine symposia. We present survey results from scientists, representing a range of disciplines, that indicate a critical need for strategic communication as part of EBM. We focus primarily on the transfer of science to policy makers and managers, both of whom play an influential role in shaping current and future public opinion and practice. We illustrate best practices to enhance communications about EBM and offer recommendations for using communication techniques to speak to people from their cultural lens and knowledge base. We assert that “strategic communication” is necessary to enable EBM, and scientists, managers, and communication professionals must work together to employ its principles within a coherent framework.