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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Posted on September 21, 2012 - 4:18pm, by SeaPlan

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

Kids quake in their beds with covers over their heads because their parents told them the Boogeyman will take them away if they don’t go to sleep. That fear of an unknown menace sticks with people and it can be a big challenge to overcome. Even in ocean planning.

This summer SeaPlan designed and conducted an extensive ocean use characterization study of recreational saltwater boaters from Maine to New York. The goal was to collect scientifically sound spatial data on recreational boating activity and estimate the economic impact of recreational boating in the region.  The impetus for the work was a data gap identified by the Northeast Regional Ocean Council, but leaders in the boating industry also recognized the need for science-based, stakeholder-informed data. 

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Posted on September 4, 2012 - 4:05pm, by toniparras

By Toni Parras, Communications Professional, toniparras [at]

Are you a marine resource manager?  Are you a filmmaker?  Who says you can’t be both?

Many conservation efforts today use imagery in some form, at some level, in support of their efforts.  From high-end, high-definition video and photography down to the point-and-shoot variety, cameras can greatly aid in getting your message across.

But where to start if you’ve never taken to the shutter before?  Not to worry: with today’s advanced camera technology, even the most shutter-shy can produce credible results with a basic, inexpensive point-and-shoot camera. 

It’s really more about the technique than the gear — the message more than expertise.  With a few simple tips to help you get started, you will be on your way to advancing your marine conservation efforts:

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Posted on September 4, 2012 - 3:57pm, by bwbarr

By Brad Barr, brad.barr [at]

In these times of limited resources, enlisting the assistance of partners has become essential to acquire the knowledge needed to establish and manage MPAs effectively.  There are few more valuable to us in this regard than our colleagues in the academic community. 

Colleges and universities are centers for research, creativity, and innovation.  Their raison d’etre is to think deeply about important stuff we don’t generally have the time to, to train the next generation of managers and scientists who will come to join our community of practice or collaborate with us in the future, and to seek out opportunities to make this education meaningful. 

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Posted on July 31, 2012 - 2:01pm, by nwehner

By Nick Wehner
Project Manager, OpenChannels
nwehner [at]

Greetings OpenChannels users, and welcome to the inaugural edition of the Sea ++ Blog.  This blog will provide regular content on the technological side of ocean planning and management.  In this issue, I'll be briefing you on the capabilities of the OpenChannels website and changes that will be forthcoming for our September "Stable" launch. 

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Posted on July 31, 2012 - 1:25pm, by jdavis

By John B. Davis
President, MARE, jdavis [at]
Project Supervisor, OpenChannels
Editor, MPA News and MEAM

When I started MPA News back in 1999, the idea behind it was pretty simple: to help the planners and managers of marine protected areas around the world share their knowledge and experience with each other.  A few years later the concept was the same for MPA News’ sister newsletter Marine Ecosystems and Management, which serves professionals in the fields of ecosystem-based management and marine spatial planning.

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By Jeff Ardron, jeff.ardron [at]

What is it about maritime planning and its fickle love affairs with acronyms?  Two years ago, I was in a forum about communicating science and was informed that ecosystem-based management (EBM) was no longer a good thing to say because it sounds too “sciencey” which makes stakeholders and decision-makers nervous.  Clearly this was bad news for all of us who had previously been promoting the concept.  

Instead, we were supposed to talk about concrete things, like marine spatial planning (MSP).  But a short year later, in the United States, MSP too had become taboo, because it implied zoning, which — you guessed It — makes stakeholders and decision-makers nervous.  As you may recall, zoning wasn’t always bad.  About ten years ago or so, we were singing praises to integrated coastal zone management (ICZM)! 

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By Toni Parras, Communications Professional, toniparras [at]

If a picture says a thousand words, then video says….well, you do the math.

Despite being dependent on marine resources for sustenance and livelihood, many coastal residents don't ever see the state of the underwater habitat on which those resources depend.  All they know is that the fish, shellfish and other marine species that are coming up out of the water are smaller and scarcer than in times past.
The story of a colleague I met through the Locally-Managed Marine Area Network — a group of practitioners working on community-based marine management efforts throughout the Indo-Pacific — offers a particularly good example of the power of video to inform people’s understanding and even change minds.