OpenChannels has a team of dedicated bloggers addressing targeted aspects of ocean planning and management, including communication, technology, ocean uses, and more. Our bloggers are experts in the field, drawing from their own knowledge and experience.

The OpenChannels community can also benefit from your knowledge and experience. We appreciate the diversity of perspectives in this field and welcome the use of OpenChannels for sharing these views. Do you have a perspective on ocean planning you would like to share? We'll help you do that right now: just click the button above and follow the prompts. If you are interested in blogging but have questions, please email Raye Evrard at raye [at] We look forward to your contribution!

The OpenChannels Team

Posted on April 27, 2016 - 9:53am, by christian

The sustainable management of marine ecosystems involves a multitude of stakeholders, across various sectors. The vastness of the ocean and the potentially diverging interests of stakeholders involved - including different government departments, the private business sector and civil society - are not necessarily reflected in ‘traditional’, sector-based regulation and management mechanisms. This poses a challenge to an efficient use of ocean resources, and the conservation of its ecological integrity and functioning

Integrated Oceans Management is an approach that brings together relevant actors from government, business and civil society and across sectors of human activity (e.g. fishing, mining, shipping or tourism), to collaborate jointly towards a sustainable future of our ocean environment (‘ocean’ referring to marine and oastal areas).

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As a Project Fellow at SeaPlan, I am interested in the conversation among MSP practitioners over the pragmatic utility of ecosystem services tools for “real life” application. I recently looked at the role of modeling tools and platforms that quantitatively categorize zones or ecosystems services in ocean planning. This research led me to develop a broad overview of available valuation modeling tools and to detail some interesting example applications. I thought others would be interested, so SeaPlan is sharing them here as a series of three short case studies followed by the overview. First in this series is a case study summarizing how two of the most widely-used modeling tools, InVEST and Marxan, were applied by West Coast Aquatic (WCA) for the West Vancouver Island marine spatial plans.  

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Posted on February 15, 2016 - 8:17am, by PJSJones

The book Governing Marine Protected Areas: resilience through diversity (Jones PJS 2014) is now available in paperback, after very good sales of the hardback version around the world. The price of the paperback version is £22 or $40 with the discount code DC361 when purchasing directly from Routledge. See to purchase from Routledge at this discount and read reviews, including more recent reviews in Nature and the International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law.

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Posted on February 10, 2016 - 6:20am, by PJSJones

Another analysis of despair by a fisheries scientist (Kenchington T, in press*) questioning whether we should have MPAs: fishing removes top predators which are migratory, therefore fishing still impacts MPAs through fish migrations and trophic cascade effects, therefore we need to choose between pristine MPAs & seafood production! Maybe address wider ecosystem impacts of fishing, e.g. through increased selectivity, maximum size limits? Also, MPAs can still achieve a lot if not pristine and not large enough to match the wide range of top-predators?

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Posted on February 1, 2016 - 3:35am, by PJSJones

An interesting paper (Fletcher et al., in press) which argues that neoliberal faith in REDD+ schemes for forest conservation, on the basis that they represent market-based initiatives, is misplaced, as it is not feasible for REDD+ payments to fully offset the short-term economic benefits of natural resource extraction that are foregone. There is increasing focus on extending REDD+ out to sea as Blue Carbon schemes for mangroves, saltmarshes and seagrass, for which MPAs are often vehicles.

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Part 5: Ecological Thresholds can Inform Resource Management

The Ocean Tipping Points project is a collaboration of natural and social scientists, lawyers, environmental managers, and stakeholders working to understand what drives abrupt ecological shifts, and how they might be prevented or reversed. This is the fourth blog in a series highlighting the latest research and insights from our team of researchers.

Non-linear threshold responses are common in ecological systems, driven by both natural and human-induced pressures on ecosystems. However, Incorporating ecological thresholds into management can be a daunting task. In many ecosystems we have limited ability to predict if a threshold exists, when and how rapidly it will be crossed, and if positive feedback loops that entrain the new state will develop.


Brought to you by the EBM Tools Network

There are scores of resources for helping coastal planners gauge potential climate change impacts to natural resources and communities (e.g. Resources for gauging the economic/financial aspects of climate change adaptation actions (as opposed to climate change impacts themselves) are much rarer. There are very few software tools that deal with the costs and benefits of different adaptation options, but the EBM Tools Network ( has found one as well as a number of other great resources on this topic:

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Part 4: Seven Principles for managing tipping points

The Ocean Tipping Points project is a collaboration of natural and social scientists, lawyers, environmental managers, and stakeholders working to understand what drives abrupt ecological shifts, and how they might be prevented or reversed. This is the fourth blog in a series highlighting the latest research and insights from our team of researchers.

Awareness is growing among scientists and environmental managers that human impacts can lead to dramatic, sometimes rapid, changes in the way that ecosystems look – for example, in the species and habitats that are dominant – and the way they work – such as how productive they are, how rapidly nutrients are cycled, or what benefits they provide to people.

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Posted on June 30, 2015 - 4:47am, by PJSJones

The European Environment Agency provides independent scientific assessments and advice to the European Commission and European Parliament. It's recent European Environment — State and Outlook 2015 (SOER 2015) report highlights some worrying issues and trends, particularly for the marine environment (see briefing), e.g.


Miami - The legendary wisdom of anglers is changing with the times, according to groundbreaking new research published Thursday in the Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. The first study to use personal seafood budgets to reveal environmental orientation shows that South Florida’s recreational fishers have a newfound recognition of climate change and a strong will to open their wallets for high quality seafood.

Old timers remain stingier than newer generations, reveals researcher James W. Harper, who surveyed a selection of Florida’s more than one million registered marine fishers for the the scientific article The New Man and the Sea. But one of the study’s biggest surprises is that poorer people are not stingy when it comes to paying more for sustainable seafood. The online survey found middle to lower class households were just as willing as upper classes to pay a few dollars extra to purchase fish with a sustainability label on it. These residents living near the Florida Reef especially want local seafood, because 80 percent were in favor of higher costs to guarantee seafood caught nearby.