The aquatic environment is a complex combination of natural features and phenomena, supporting diverse populations that show rather unpredictable dynamics in resilience and carrying capacity. Because of this complexity, predicting the effects of human-induced changes on these ecosystems is extremely difficult. Even more difficult it is to unravel the relative importance of short-term dredging operations as part of all possible anthropogenic influence.
For example and as quoted before (Kaly, 2000):
“the concept of health in relation to reefs, or any ecosystem, is a slippery one. We have no way of indicating the ideal number of species, community characteristics, energy flows or ecosystem services for even a single reef. Let alone arrive at some guidelines for the range of complex systems we are concerned with across the globe. Despite not really being ready for the challenge, we are forced by necessity to start taking action and learn as we go”.
Partly through the worldwide globalisation and growing international networks, “The Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) syndrome” becomes less applicable. Globally, there is a growing recognition that despite decades of hard work, hundreds of projects, thousands of trained professionals, and billions of dollars, we have not yet substantially slowed the degradation of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. It is clear that “business as usual” is not a viable option and that newer, more powerful approaches for sustainable development must be tried.