There will be increasing pressure on northern coastal and offshore regions for resource extraction as resources become scarce in more accessible regions. Marine navigation and transportation is likely to increase in response to economic development, and as ice cover reduces and the ice free season extends as a result of climatic changes. This article considers how economic development within northern coastal and marine regions may be reconciled with conservation. Integrated coastal management may be a useful process to reconcile economic development and conservation values.

Existing, developing and de facto approaches to integrated management for northern coastal and marine regions are examined in the context of scenarios for economic development and conservation. These scenarios include marine shipping and hydrocarbon exploration and production for coastal and offshore waters of Alaska, northern Canada, and the North Sea. These approaches to integrated management are one means of considering marine resources and their utilization with a sustainable development framework. These approaches may also be a means of reconciling marine protection and other sectors such as shipping, hydrocarbons and fisheries.

The article concludes that approaches to integrated management which reconcile economic and conservation values will be complex and consultative. The approaches will need to consider the interests of local peoples and communities, the needs of ecosystems and migratory communities, and environmental impacts and mitigation of development. The success of different approaches for reconciling economic development and conservation may be gauged by the range of issues and interests considered in these processes.

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