Why a Marine Social Sciences Network?
It has long been recognised that our powers to manage the marine environment are limited but it is the management of human activities that has been a major requirement of marine policy. Social sciences are uniquely placed to help inform human management and behaviour.
As the natural world evolves in response to a range of drivers (e.g. climate change, population growth, loss of habitat and biodiversity, sea level rise, blue growth initiatives, marine protected area designations, meeting the Sustainable Development Goals), the value of interdisciplinary solutions and the input of social sciences to global challenges is becoming more and more apparent. For marine and coastal environments, understanding social -ecological interactions, and societal values of our seas and coasts is increasingly considered an integral component of decision making and governance. Despite calls for improved interdisciplinarity in addressing global issues facing our coasts and seas for this to be achieved successfully, the value of social science research and approaches in a marine and coastal context needs to be better understood by policy makers and practitioners.
How the Marine Social Sciences Network came into being
Following a meeting at the Royal Geographical Society in London, in January 2018, there has been a resounding call and enthusiasm behind developing a platform for this growing diverse community. Through the recently established Marine Social Sciences Network, we aim to bring together an international and interdisciplinary community of researchers, practitioners, policy makers and other interested stakeholders to further the discussions around better connecting marine social sciences with existing natural and physical science expertise, supporting the effective marine and coastal management and governance globally.