High-resolution distribution maps can help inform conservation measures for protected species; including where any impacts of proposed commercial developments overlap the range of focal species. Around Orkney, northern Scotland, UK, the harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) population has decreased by 78% over 20 years. Concern for the declining harbour seal population has led to constraints being placed on tidal energy generation developments. For this study area, telemetry data from 54 animals tagged between 2003 and 2015 were used to produce density estimation maps. Predictive habitat models using GAM-GEEs provided robust predictions in areas where telemetry data were absent, and were combined with density estimation maps, and then scaled to population levels using August terrestrial counts between 2008 and 2015, to produce harbour seal usage maps with confidence intervals around Orkney and the North coast of Scotland. The selected habitat model showed that distance from haul out, proportion of sand in seabed sediment, and annual mean power were important predictors of space use. Fine-scale usage maps can be used in consenting and licensing of anthropogenic developments to determine local abundance. When quantifying commercial impacts through changes to species distributions, usage maps can be spatially explicitly linked to individual-based models to inform predicted movement and behaviour.
Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP)
- The several forms of ecological spatial connectivity – population, genetic, community, ecosystem – are among the most important ecological processes in determining the distribution, persistence and productivity of coastal marine populations and ecosystems.
- Ecological marine protected areas (MPAs) focus on restoring or maintaining marine populations, communities, or ecosystems. All ecological MPAs – no matter their specific focus or objectives – depend for their success on incorporating ecological spatial connectivity into their design, use (i.e. application), and management.
- Though important, a synthesis of the implications of ecological spatial connectivity for the design, use, and management of MPAs, especially in the face of a changing global climate, does not exist. We synthesize this information and distill it into practical principles for design, use, and management of MPAs and networks of MPAs.
- High population connectivity among distant coastal ecosystems underscores the critical value of MPA networks for MPAs and the populations and ecosystems between them.
- High ecosystem connectivity among coastal ecosystems underscores the importance of protecting multiple connected ecosystems within an MPA, maximizing ecosystem connectivity across MPAs, and managing ecosystems outside MPAs so as to minimize influxes of detrimental organisms and materials into MPAs.
- Connectivity-informed MPAs and MPA networks – designed and managed to foster the ecological spatial connectivity processes important to local populations, species, communities, and ecosystems – can best address ecological changes induced by climate change. Also, the protections afforded by MPAs from direct, local human impacts may ameliorate climate change impacts in coastal ecosystems inside MPAs and, indirectly, in ecosystems outside MPAs.
There has been a strong push within natural resource management to incorporate spatial structure into management regimes. However, discussions surrounding the appropriate designs of spatial management have largely been conceptual. This paper develops a spatial econometric model of fishing location choice using non-confidential data from the Great Barrier Reef coral trout commercial fishery. Harvest location decisions are modeled as a function of spatial patterns of expected economic returns. The preferred spatially dependent econometric model is shown to outperform ordinary least squares and fixed effects models in out-of-sample forecasting. Estimates from the spatial model reveal spatial spillover effects in fleet harvest location behavior. In particular, harvest activity at any given site is equally sensitive to same-site economic returns and surrounding-site economic returns. The econometric results are illustrated using a fee-based policy simulation. Results suggest non-spatial management is characterized by two inefficiencies. First, heterogeneity between sites is averaged, resulting a fee that is too high or too low across space. Second, fees that are too high or too low affect the fishing effort in nearby locations.
Intense human activity in the marine environment poses a threat to marine ecosystem. The ecosystem-based planning and management approach has developed over the past decades with the goal of reducing this threat by defining planning and management of uses in a way that mitigates negative effects on ecosystem structure and function. For oceans and coasts, marine spatial planning (MSP) can further aid the implementation of ecosystem-based management, a widely accepted tenet of planning for the marine environment. It can do so by allocating different uses of space in a way that reduces conflicts for the benefit of the environment. Here, we propose an approach to MSP that incorporates principles of reconciliation ecology for the planning of marine (nearshore) enclosures. The approach supports conservation within and around anthropogenic elements outside of marine protected areas. Since human activity typically involves some damage to natural ecosystem, this research contributes by proposing a way to incorporate ecosystem modeling for MSP that includes human activity. Examining areas of human activity under different management scenarios allows identification of possible trends in human-natural ecosystem interactions. Using such an approach increases marine conservation opportunities, and directs educated and cautious MSP in ways that allow implementation of an ecosystem-based approach.
The conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction is one of the most controversial issues facing the law of the sea, and one that will probably be the scope of a new implementing agreement of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC). The agreement will address a set of challenges not on the agenda at the time LOSC was drafted, constituting an opportunity for addressing innovative notions, but also to question established ones as States attempt to ensure the compatibility between the former and the latter. One of the many challenges and a key aspect is the adoption of area-based management tools such as marine spatial planning. This article examines the existing legal gap regarding the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction and the use of marine spatial planning as an essential area-based management tool.
As Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is taking off world-wide as a holistic approach to marine management, there has been a growing need for the inclusion of socio-economic factors in this process. Yet, producing spatial data for cultural values, in particular, remain a challenge because these values are abstract and difficult to extract and quantify. Here, we demonstrate a simple repeatable manual technique for mapping cultural coastal values using in-person interviews and Public Participation GIS (PPGIS) techniques. With 47 participants in the Falkland Islands labelling 745areas of cultural coastal value, this technique gave rise to the identification of cultural coastal value hotspots across the islands in four categories: Natural Beauty, Recreation, Sense of Place and Cultural History. The locations of values were not affected by their distance to a settlement, nor were participants particularly likely to select areas close to their home. The resulting maps of coastal cultural values have been incorporated in the MSP framework and webGIS for the Falkland Islands, allowing for the integration of these social factors in the decision making processes.
Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) are sites identified as globally important for bird species conservation. Marine IBAs are one of the few comprehensive multi-species datasets available for the marine environment, and their use in conservation planning will likely increase as countries race to protect 10% of their territorial waters by 2020. We tested 15 planning scenarios for Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone to guide best practice on integrating marine IBAs into spatial conservation prioritization. We found prioritizations based solely on habitat protection failed to protect IBAs, and prioritizations based solely on IBAs similarly failed to meet basic levels of habitat representation. Further, treating all marine IBAs as irreplaceable sites produced the most inefficient plans in terms of ecological representativeness and protection equality. Our analyses suggest that marine spatial planners who wish to use IBAs treat them like any other conservation feature by assigning them a specific protection target.
Postsettlement spillover from marine protected areas (MPAs) can support adjacent fished populations and has been subject of many scientific studies. The larval subsidy effect, on the contrary, is more challenging to study and less demonstrated, although it, arguably, provides key benefits for fisheries. We modeled and predicted the spatial distribution of fish spawning biomass and fecundity across a temperate insular MPA network (Azores archipelago, Northeast Atlantic) and identified potential single- and multispecies reproductive habitats (RHs) in shallow reefs. Reproductive strategies or skewed sex ratios influenced spatial patterns of potential spawning biomass and fecundity. Predicted multispecies RHs covered 5%–20% of the studied reef habitat. Given their potentially high reproductive output, we argue that such sites should be considered in marine conservation planning to increase chances of achieving fisheries and conservation benefits. Spatial patterns of the reproductive output may function as surrogates for larval subsidy when limited or no larval connectivity information is available and also may assist in identifying potential larval sources and priority sites for conservation.
Research on enclosure has often examined the phenomenon as a process and outcome of state, neoliberal, and hybrid territorial practices with detrimental impacts for those affected. The proliferation of increasingly complex environmental governance regimes and new enclosures, such as those now seen in the oceans, challenge these readings, however. Using the case of U.S. marine spatial planning (MSP), this article reexamines enclosure through the lens of assemblage. A comprehensive new approach to oceans governance based on spatial data and collaborative decision making, MSP appears to follow past governance programs toward a broad-scale rationalization and enclosure of U.S. waters. Yet this appearance might only be superficial. As an assemblage, U.S. MSP—and its shifting actors, associations, and practices—holds the potential to both close and open the seas for oceans communities, environments, and other actors. Planning actors use three practices to stabilize U.S. MSP for governance and enclosure: narrativizing MSP, creating a geospatial framework to underlie planning, and engaging stakeholders. These practices, however, simultaneously provide opportunities for communities and environments to intervene in U.S. MSP toward alternative outcomes. Rather than a closed seas, U.S. MSP presents opportunities for enclosure to happen differently or not at all, producing alternative outcomes for coastal and oceans communities, environments, and governance.
Maritime Spatial Planning (hereinafter mentioned as MSP) is developing and growing rapidly and constantly worldwide. It is acknowledged as a key instrument to balance sectoral interests and achieve sustainable use of marine resources with the ecosystem-based approach as the underpinning principle (EC, 2010). Nevertheless, there are different planning approaches and different levels of implementation of maritime/marine spatial planning (MSP) processes in the world. Among the plans implemented in Europe, and based on the planning processes developed, different aims for MSP can be noted which translate into either strategic, fully integrated, forward-looking and participative planning or “spatial optimization” elements. On the other hand there are areas where MSP is in an immature phase and where mutual learning, improved governance or capacity building is needed, or areas where a strategic approach to facilitate coordination of MSP arrangements would be necessary. This paper addresses current MSP attitudes, challenges and future trends and discusses the MSP planning and management conceptual approaches, options and styles, mainly as defined through the European regulatory framework.