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Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities
Research project

Managing Ethical Norwegian Seascape Activities (MENSA)

MENSA is funded by the Research Council of Norway, and its overarching aim is to develop an integrated ethical approach to the sustainable management of Norwegian seascape activities.

A map of Norway in red, an ocean filled with windmills, oil rigs, fish and ships, and figures sitting around a table made up of the Norwegian flag. The word MENSA is written below.
The knowledge gained in MENSA can contribute to ethical governance that can resolve disputes related to competing uses or protection of coastal and marine resources.
Photo:
The MENSA project

Main content

Management of marine resources, globally and in Norway, strives to achieve sustainable development by balancing resource extraction, biodiversity conservation, and societal acceptability. However, these three philosophical paradigms tend to stand as monolithic pillars in their approaches to sustainability, namely: rationalization, conservation, and community. Consequently, such un-integrated approaches tend to lead to management objectives and policy goals in conflict. These conflicts are often rooted in competing economic, ecological, and social values.

In order to reach its overarching aim, MENSA will make explicit values and valuation of the sea and negotiate the ensuing trade-offs with the input of diverse marine stakeholders in Norway, including scientific experts, government representatives, industry members, non-governmental organizations, and most importantly, its citizens.

MENSA’s objectives are threefold:

  1. To contribute to a theoretical understanding of marine resource values and valuation in seascapes, informed by niche construction theory and sense of place empirical research.
  2. To elicit societal values of the seas and coasts and activities associated with marine resources in Norway using the seascape concept and imagery in a novel methodology.
  3. To evaluate value trade-offs and negotiate resource conflicts with Norwegian stakeholders by integrating ecological and oceanographic modelling of scenarios with elicited value priorities in an ethical framework for management strategy evaluation.

The knowledge gained in MENSA can contribute to ethical governance that can resolve disputes related to competing uses or protection of coastal and marine resources. This integrated ethical approach can serve as a proof-of-concept model at the national level for how to reconcile value trade-offs toward sustainable development. Such trade-offs must be reconciled to achieve the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): MENSA focuses on SDG 14 (Life Below Water), SDG 15 (Life on Land), and SDG 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions).