Resource managers rely on tools to enact ecosystem-based management (EBM) principles and frequently express frustration at the difficulty of use and unreliability of available tools. EBM tool developers lack the consistent, long-term funding needed to develop high-quality tools. Through interviews, we determined several reasons for this funding problem including: (a) most EBM tools are developed by academics rather than software professionals and (b) most tools are offered at no cost. These factors create a double-edged sword for managers who cannot afford high license fees or to waste time with low-quality, unmaintained products. Without a fundamental shift in tool funding and development, many potentially useful tools will remain poorly implemented and underused. Without a significant increase in the number of high-quality EBM tools, governmental mandates to implement EBM will remain unfulfilled. This problem can be addressed if both developers and funders change the ways in which they seek and grant financial support.
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Vol. 62 • No. 5