Communicating environmental information to the stakeholders in coastal and marine policy-making: Case studies from Nova Scotia and the Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy region

Citation:

Soomai, S.S., MacDonald, B.H., & Wells, P.G. (2013). Communicating environmental information to the stakeholders in coastal and marine policy-making: Case studies from Nova Scotia and the Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy region. Marine Policy, 40, 176-186.

Abstract: 

This study examined the awareness of, use by, and influence on stakeholders in coastal and marine policy-making in Eastern Canada and the United States of environmental publications produced by government agencies. Research was conducted in collaboration with government agencies and the publications evaluated were: (1) The 2009 State of Nova Scotia’s Coast Report, released byt he Government of Nova Scotia; and (2) The State of the Gulf of Maine Report, released by the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment. Studying the use and influence of such reports is essential to assure accountability for use of public funds and for environmental protection. Interviews and surveys, web analytics, media scans, and citation analysis were conducted shortly after public release of the reports.The views of multiple stakeholders were considered, including policy and decision makers, scientists, industry, and the public. While produced for different audiences and in different formats, the two reports are important sources of baseline information on regional coastal issues.The methods used to promote awareness of the reports targeted the ‘‘interested public’’, which included individuals and groups who usually respond to government requests for input, who may be better able to inform policy, and who are already active in coastal zone conservation. Raising awareness and use of information was challenged by the need to communicate environmental information to diverse audiences and to engage the general public (stakeholders and individuals outside of established networks). Results are presented within the context of communication and information pathways at the ‘‘science-policy interface’’.

(Authors’ version)