The maritime environment has provided humanity with valuable services necessary for our well-being. This relationship between human beings and the marine environment must be redefined in the future to insure its sustainability, as well as for us to be able to continue benefiting from its bounty. The current diversity and complexity of the various human activities in the coastal zones and at sea require from all of us serious thought as well as informed decision making, so as to manage our activities in an integrated and sustainable way. This will certainly be a great challenge for the 21st Century.
Unfortunately, humanity does not always make wise decisions when faced with this reality. The solution to many problems involving the marine environment rests not only on a better knowledge of this unique milieu, but also on a better understanding of human behavior and the various economic, social and political institutions arising from that behavior.
Marine resource management requires the capacity to integrate multiple levels of knowledge into decision-making, both at the strategic and operational levels. This type of management also requires knowledge of the different social and economic characteristics of the maritime industry as well as a good comprehension of the interaction between this industry and the natural habitat. Proactive action and policy will be needed in the years to come, since we face ever-growing pressure on marine resources.