Published on 19 December 2022, this article discusses the challenges of integrating cultural dimensions into ecosystem-based ocean management. The difficulty of quantifying marine cultural heritage and cultural connections, the complexity of identifying, evaluating and categorising ‘cultural ecosystem services,’ particularly when it comes to intangible cultural heritage, and the difficulty of spatially defining cultural heritage, connections and ecosystem services are some of the challenges. This article argues that the quantification and simplification of marine cultural heritage and connections should be avoided, as this can result in ecosystem collapse rather than ecosystem flourishing. Instead, it is important to qualify the cultural dimensions of ecosystem-based ocean management and develop contextual participatory research methodologies to better understand marine cultural heritage and cultural connections to marine socio-ecological systems.
This article explores challenges in integrating marine cultural dimensions, such as heritage, connection, and ecosystem services, into ecosystem-based ocean management.