Enhancing science in coastal management through understanding its role in the decision making

There is an obvious need for comprehensive interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research programs that can assist in the management of marine and coastal environments. An ongoing problem is to how to integrate this research into the ongoing development and evaluation of policy and management plans. A large scale systematic research program focused on the Ningaloo Coral Reef and its coastal terrestrial environment has been conducted. Many specific research projects were undertaken varying from bathymetry and fish behaviour to the needs and attitudes of tourists. Over fifty research projects were included. Integration of the findings is being achieved through a series of modelling activities of varying complexity including simple fish population models to a whole-of-system model

This paper provides an understanding of how this research fitted with the overall social system of interaction between decision makers and local stakeholders, and how the information could reach and be made relevant to all roles in regard to the management of Ningaloo. A network approach was developed through interviews and the construction of ego networks. The results of this study revealed clusters of groups that performed particular roles for reef management, and showed that the science cluster demonstrated the characteristics of the