Coastal and marine areas are increasingly recognized as coupled social-ecological systems (SES) or seascapes consisting of highly interlinked human and ecological elements (Berkes et al., 2003). These seascapes provide numerous ecosystem services ranging from provisioning services related to marine products of economic and subsistence value (Anneboina and Kumar, 2017, Potts et al., 2014) to regulating and cultural ecosystem services that have manifold contributions to human wellbeing (MA, 2005, Blasiak et al., 2017, Garcia Rodrigues et al., 2017). These ecosystem services are essential for approximately 28% of the global population that lives in coastal areas. However, coastal and marine SES experience rapid change, for example, facing the greatest exposure to climatic change that leaves their poor and marginalized residents among the world’s most vulnerable (IPCC, 2019, Blasiak et al., 2017).
Considering the important contribution of coastal and marine SES to the wellbeing of many local communities, and humanity as a whole, there have been calls for the adoption of ecosystem-based approaches for their management (Foley et al., 2010, Maes et al., 2012). However, development interventions and management practices can have important trade-offs in such contexts (Mach et al., 2015, Berg et al., 2016). For example, while aquaculture has the potential to relieve pressure on overexploited wild fish stocks and improve the food security of local communities (Troell et al., 2014), it can also cause water pollution, habitat degradation, loss of genetic diversity, and nutritional deficits (Bush et al., 2013, Cashion et al., 2017, Glover et al., 2017, Hicks et al., 2019, Li et al., 2017). Similarly, tourism and recreational activities can enhance the cultural benefits obtained from seascapes, but at the same time they can have negative impacts through habitat change/loss, pollution and loss of local traditions (Gladstone et al., 2013, Lopes et al., 2015). Similarly, the development of renewable energy infrastructure in coastal and marine SES has been associated with both positive and negative effects on aquatic biodiversity and associated ecosystem services (Gasparatos et al., 2017, Casalegno et al., 2014).