Monday, May 3, 2010

Korean Coastal and Marine Management, where art thou headed?

People protesting the abolishment of MOMAF

Like everything in Korea, Korean coastal and marine management systems have developed in fast-forward mode. And until recently their progression at least superficially mirrored that of the United States and other Western nations. First at the national level most coastal and marine related agencies were centralized, or integrated, into one ministry. In the U.S. this "ministry" is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and in Korea it was the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MOMAF). Following this laws were passed in the U.S. that attempted to decentralize coastal and marine management authority to the states. And in Korea, though to a lesser extent, similiar laws were passed. However with the election of Lee Myung Bak in 2008, MOMAF was abolished and the various departments under its umbrella were appended back onto other ministries, such as that of Agriculture, and Transportation.
This development has not reached the English language academic literature yet, but it has been extensively covered by Korean media and academics, many of whom were strongly opposed MOMAF's destruction.
It will be interesting to see how this will be spun in the international literature particularly because Korea has always prided itself on being at the "forefront" or "vanguard" of international innovation in coastal and marine management systems development.