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Marie Curatolo

ESRM 458
January 26, 2011
Writing Exercise No. 1

When trying to conceptualize the policy domains of our issue, our group was
fortunate enough to have a few examples illustrated in Miller and Broches, 1996. The
paper defines the term as “components of political systems organized around substantive
issues” (40). Policy domains encompass the various stakeholders, players, or “camps”
involved in an issue and their ideological and political ties to one another. In rare species
management, this often includes an environmental community and an industrial
community, which may intuitively seem at odds with each other. Miller and Broches note
one common difference: “Generally, the environmental agenda promotes preservationist
objectives above others: the industry agenda gives high priority to extractive practices”
(40). Fortunately, the paper goes on to describe, explain, and evaluate policy domains for
three different policies; thus giving researchers like us the opportunity to compare our
issue to those described.
With regards to policy domain, I would like to study the similarities and
differences between our issue and those described by Miller and Broches. Since we will
ultimately be creating a deliverable in hopes of affecting management, I believe it would
be beneficial to see if our issue’s policy domain is analogous to any existing frameworks
and to evaluate the effectiveness of each. Our group is already aware of the many
different stakeholders involved in our issue. So far, it seems to align with the theme of
environmental and industrial communities. The policy domain describing the
reauthorization of the Marine Mammal Protection Act seems relatively similar to that of
our issue. We are examining policy decisions with regards to yellowfin tuna fisheries
interactions with dolphin species and drawing parallels in hopes of suggesting effective
management for local and commercial fisheries interactions with the Vaquita porpoise in
the Gulf of California. Our issue is similar to the MMPA because both incite the attention
of environmental communities concerned with saving a rare species threatened by
bycatch. They also concern the industrial community, such as those involved in the
fisheries at the commercial and/or the local/subsistence level. Within the framework of
this course, our issue is similar to that of the MMPA because it concerns somewhat
similar rare species (marine mammals), institutions (conservation organizations, fishery
organizations, etc.) and people (fishers, environmentalists, locals, etc.)
To address the diversity of interests, policies emerging from both of these issues
purport to “provide a permanent system to manage interactions between marine mammals
and commercial fisheries” (42). To help understand the policy domain of our issue, we
can look at that of the Marine Mammal Act reauthorization issue: “No official
organization was established by the environmental community to deal with the Marine
Mammal Act. Instead, a wide range of entities…independently participated in the
negotiating group. Similarly, the seafood industry was represented by diverse fishing
community, harvesting, processing, management, sportfishing, and tribal organizations”
(41). Given the similarities in both the number and the interests of stakeholders involved,
perhaps we would do well to consider a similar “negotiating group”. This consideration
becomes more viable when Miller and Broches examine the effectiveness of this
negotiation approach: “[T]he case illustrates how interest groups can form an alliance,
achieve a rapport, and pragmatically contribute to the legislative process” (42). Perhaps
this framework could inspire a similarly positive outcome: “In the MMPA policy domain,
environmental groups and the fishing industry were spurred by Congress and effectively
joined forces to draft a negotiated statement” (45). Such a negotiated statement could be
the result of a cohesive and cooperative policy domain.
Miller and Broches also describe the policy domain of the Magnuson Act
reauthorization. For this issue, the environmental community formed the Marine Fish
Conservation Network and the fishing industry was represented by the National Fisheries
Institute. Although “the two special-interest constituencies have not been openly
antagonistic” and could “work on different but not incompatible agendas”, there still
exists the possibility that “the relationship between the environmental and fishing
communities could degenerate” (44). We may consider something similar to this if our
research reveals that environmental and industrial communities have become cohesive
and formed “umbrella” institutions that are perhaps less likely to reach consensus in
negotiation. This will depend on how closely the people and institutions of our issue align
with those involved in the Magnuson Act reauthorization. However, we already know
that the rare species involved differ considerably in our issue versus those involved in the
Magnuson Act, which primarily concerns fish species.
Fortunately for my group members and I, it seems as though our issue varies at
least somewhat from the circumstances that contributed to strained and messy policy
domain dynamics in the case of the Endangered Species Act reauthorization. This issue
did not progress compared to the MMPA and Magnuson Act reauthorization issues. One
reason discussed was the “emotional intensity” that contributed to “adversarial rather
than constructive” dialogue (45). Although there is little doubt that our issue includes
emotion, we hope it is not as complex as those involved in the ESA simply because it
concerns much fewer species, ecosystems, and industries. One of the reasons cited for the
slow progress made in ESA authorization was that it “involv[ed] many species other than
marine mammals and many industries more powerful than the fishing industry” (46). Our
issue concerns the yellowfin tuna industry and the relatively small commercial and local
fisheries in the Gulf of California, therefore we expect the people and institutions
involved in our issue are different in nature and scope from those involved in the ESA
reauthorization. Also, the rare species on which we will focus are limited to spinner,
common, and spotted dolphins and the Vaquita. These are all cetaceans living in arguably
comparable habitats. If we can avoid some of the pitfalls experienced by the ESA issue,
perhaps we can engineer a more effective management policy.


Miller, Marc L. and Charles F. Broches. “North Pacific Fisheries and Reauthorization of
the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act, Marine Mammal
Protection Act, and Endangered Species Act.” Northwest Environmental Journal
9 (1993): 24-72.
Figure 1: A New Three-Part System. The objective in creating these three sets of aspects
is to broaden the scope of the original “three circles” presented in class, while still
retaining their elements (italicized below) due to their recognized importance in rare
species management. The increased scope of the new aspect sets system will hopefully be
able not only to accommodate rare species management, but also nearly any
environmental issue, perhaps even extending into geopolitics.

Ecological Aspects:
In addition to accounting for the biological
attributes of the rare species at hand, this sphere Economic Aspects:
also takes into account ecosystem ecology; which This includes institutions and people
deviates from a protective focus on a single insofar as they are concerned with
species to a perspective focusing on the flow of
energy through an environmental system (often
conservation for the sake of resource
represented by trophic pyramids/systems). extraction for the sake of economic
Ecosystem ecology incorporates the relationships value. This is often tracked by monetary
between species and their surrounding value assigned to various resources and
environments, including their markets.
the living and nonliving
physical aspects.

Social Aspects:
Very closely related to economic aspects, these
concern the political, moral, and ethical issues
often associated with viability, justice, beliefs,
and interests of various social groups. These
aspects are also often expressed by people and