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

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By Laurence Mee, SAMS, Scottish Marine Institute, laurence.mee [at]

Today an important piece of science news has been buried amongst the shocking revelations of chemical weapons used in Syria and the more trivial but captivating stories of human brain tissue grown in a test tube. A paper in the journal Nature by Yu Kosaka and Shang-Ping Xie from Scripps Institution of Oceanography has assembled and tested evidence explaining the seemingly erratic nature of global temperature changes in the past half-century.

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Posted on August 19, 2013 - 9:16am, by JGardner

By Julie Gardner, Dovetail Consulting, jgardner [at]

How does your garden grow? That’s what my neighbors have been asking each other during a glorious summer in Southwest British Columbia. Between weeding and harvesting I’ve been pondering questions like this from a “knowledge frame” perspective, because the issues remind me of resource challenges further north on our Pacific coast.

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By Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Waitt Foundation, ayanaelizabeth [at]

There is a lot of talk in conservation about “community-based” and “stakeholder-driven” projects, but what does that really mean? When pursued honestly, it can be summarized in one word: vulnerability.

The Waitt Institute’s evolving approach to ocean conservation is based on asking a community two questions: What do you want your ocean to look like? How can we help you get there?

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Posted on August 2, 2013 - 2:37pm, by SeaPlan

By Dave Kellam, SeaPlan Communications Manager, dkellam [at]

This week, SeaPlan’s office erupted with activity when the news broke that the first U.S. federal offshore wind energy lease auction was completed. The auction was for the Rhode Island/ Massachusetts Wind Energy Area (WEA) and is one of several auctions scheduled in the coming months on the East Coast. Now that a leasing process has been established, a new chapter in ocean planning can begin — one that can include integrated ocean management principles that are often debated, but too rarely applied.  

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Posted on July 8, 2013 - 1:47pm, by RJust

By Robin Just, Conservation Law Foundation, rjust [at]

This summer New England took another big step toward regional ocean planning as the newly minted Northeast Regional Planning Body (RPB) held 10 public meetings to get feedback on set of goals they have drafted. See our previous blogs for a discussion of the draft goals and how the planning process in New England is developing.

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By  Taylor Mayol, Blue Ventures

Look at a map and find Madagascar, the fourth biggest island on Earth, just off the coast of east Africa. Focus on the dry southwest and find the town of Toliara, capital of this impoverished region.

Now imagine a drive northwards through the searing heat along a bumpy, sandy trail. You’re hugging the coast, flanking the peculiar yet alluring Spiny Forest, one of the planet’s most threatened forest ecosystems. You hold on tight as your 4×4 surges forward over rocks and nearly becomes planted in the deep, fine sand.

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Editor's note: This piece was originally published by Blue Ventures for the IUCN on June 14, 2013. It is republished here with permission by the author. Blue Ventures is working to establish a marine protected area (MPA) in Madagascar's Barren Isles. This article offers more insight into why the area warrants protection.

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Posted on June 18, 2013 - 10:26am, by Seakeeper

By John Williamson, Captain, Sea Keeper Fishery Consulting and Charter

Fishermen tend to be hands-on, action-oriented individuals; for many the subject of ocean planning and marine spatial planning has been simply too abstract to pay close attention.  However, fishing industry leadership has been tracking the progress of the Obama Administration's National Ocean Policy, and thought leaders have quietly begun a dialog within the community and with planners.

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By Sarah Carr

In December 2012-January 2013, the EBM Tools Network and OpenChannels conducted a survey of MSP practitioners worldwide to learn what tools they are using in the field and how well those tools are working.  We’ve shared many results of this survey in preceding blog posts.  For this final installment, we would like to share some of the general wisdom our survey respondents have gained over time about using tools. When asked about tool-related lessons they have learned, respondents emphasized four areas:

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Posted on June 10, 2013 - 4:20am, by PJSJones

By Peter JS Jones, Dept of Geography, University College London, P.J.Jones [at]

What does the recommendation that the “design and management of MPAs must be both top-down and bottom-up” [1] actually mean in practice? This is the key question that a recent UNEP funded study on MPA governance (MPAG) [2] addresses, the findings of which have just been published in a special issue of the journal Marine Policy.

Debates surrounding governance strategies for MPAs have to date largely focused on top-down, bottom-up or market-based approaches. Whilst co-management approaches for governing MPAs are widely accepted as a way forward for combining these three strategies, many interpretations of this concept exist and it is applied in many different ways to MPAs in different contexts. This study aimed to explore governance through a case-study approach based on a specifically developed empirical framework – the marine protected area governance (MPAG) analysis framework – to increase understanding of how to combine the three governance approaches. A dialogue with MPA practitioners in 20 case studies helped shape the MPAG analysis framework as it developed, and an international workshop was held on ‘Governing MPAs’, bringing the practitioners together to compare results and further develop the framework. The first paper in this special issue provides an overview of the topic and research methodology and introduces the case studies (Jones, De Santo, Qiu and Vestergaard, 2013)