Marine spatial planning (MSP) offers an operational framework to address sustainable and well-planned use of ocean space. Spatial allocation has traditionally been single-sector, which fails to account for multiple pressures on the marine environment and user conflicts. There is a need for integrated assessments of ocean space to advance quantitative tools and decision-making. Using the example of offshore wind energy, this article offers thoughts about how MSP has evolved in the United States and how the varying scales of MSP achieve different outcomes. Finally, a review of quantitative and qualitative studies that are needed to support MSP are presented.
Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP)
Maritime spatial planning (MSP) is envisaged as a tool to apply an ecosystem-based approach to the marine and coastal realms, aiming at ensuring that the collective pressure of human activities is kept within acceptable limits. Cumulative impacts (CI) assessment can support science-based MSP, in order to understand the existing and potential impacts of human uses on the marine environment. A CI assessment includes several sources of uncertainty that can hinder the correct interpretation of its results if not explicitly incorporated in the decision-making process. This study proposes a three-level methodology to perform a general uncertainty analysis integrated with the CI assessment for MSP, applied to the Adriatic and Ionian Region (AIR). We describe the nature and level of uncertainty with the help of expert judgement and elicitation to include all of the possible sources of uncertainty related to the CI model with assumptions and gaps related to the case-based MSP process in the AIR. Next, we use the results to tailor the global uncertainty analysis to spatially describe the uncertainty distribution and variations of the CI scores dependent on the CI model factors. The results show the variability of the uncertainty in the AIR, with only limited portions robustly identified as the most or the least impacted areas under multiple model factors hypothesis. The results are discussed for the level and type of reliable information and insights they provide to decision-making. The most significant uncertainty factors are identified to facilitate the adaptive MSP process and to establish research priorities to fill knowledge gaps for subsequent planning cycles. The method aims to depict the potential CI effects, as well as the extent and spatial variation of the data and scientific uncertainty; therefore, this method constitutes a suitable tool to inform the potential establishment of the precautionary principle in MSP.
Marine spatial planning (MSP) is the leading tool for managing human activities at sea. It is designed to assist in decision making for marine resource access and use by considering the actions of those using the resources, interactions between these groups, and their cumulative impact on the natural environment. Being informed by ecosystem based management, MSP recognises that socio-natural systems are complex and that stakeholder and public input are key components of well-informed decision making. Therefore, MSP is rooted in the principles of good governance, including those of participation and transparency. This paper considers MSP processes in Scotland's inshore waters in the context of these good governance principles. The focus is on the institutional arrangements that allow stakeholders and the public to contribute to planning Scotland's seas and coasts. Whilst acknowledging the significant challenges faced by planners, and the work conducted so far, this research suggests that improvements could be made in how – and when – engagement takes place. It appears that at an early stage of introducing MSP in Scotland powerful stakeholders shaped the images, values and principles that guide it, and that including a broader range of actors early on might positively affect the legitimacy and acceptance of MSP in its later stages. The current institutional arrangements do not appear to allow for this. Ultimately, MSP in Scotland is in danger of institutionalising – and thus legitimising – existing power relations between marine resource users, and it does little to level the playing field.
Aquaculture is an increasingly important food-producing sector, providing protein for human consumption. However, marine aquaculture often struggles for space due to the crowded nature of human activities in many marine coastal areas, and because of limited attention from spatial planning managers. Here, we assess the need for coastal spatial planning, emphasising the establishment of suitable areas for the development of marine aquaculture, termed Allocated Zones for Aquaculture (AZAs), in which aquaculture has secured use and priority over other activities, and where potential adverse environmental impacts and negative interactions with other users are minimised or avoided. We review existing examples of marine aquaculture spatial development worldwide and discuss the proper use of site selection in relation to different legal and regulatory requirements. National or regional authorities in charge of coastal zone management should carry out spatial planning defining optimal sites for aquaculture to promote development of sustainable marine aquaculture and avoid conflict with other users, following a participatory approach and adhering to the principles of ecosystem-based management.
Effective management of coastal and marine resources requires knowledge of how community sensitivity varies spatially. With this in mind, we developed a benthic sensitivity index (SI), based on the distribution and abundance of five ecological groups that can be used to assess community tolerance to organic enrichment and other disturbances. The index, projected as a high-resolution map, ranks communities from those dominated by sensitive and ecologically important species (i.e. low SI values) to those composed mainly of tolerant and/or opportunistic species (i.e., high SI values). Applying our model to a multiple-use case study in southeast Brazil, we were able to show considerable variability in the sensitivity of communities across the study area that was relatively stable over time. This allowed us to evaluate the possible direct (i.e., spatially overlapping) and indirect effects (i.e., cumulative changes to the physical environment) of a range of activities on sensitive and ecologically diverse benthic communities. Our approach and the resulting high-resolution maps hold promise for a range of spatial planning applications, including the development of coastal infrastructure, assessments of the representativeness of marine protected areas and other activities such as the selection of appropriate locations for dredge spoil dumping. Overall, we present a novel and transparent way of extrapolating limited survey data to provide spatial and temporal information on the sensitivity of benthic communities in multiple-use coastal and marine areas.
In the CMSP decision-making process, as outlined in the NOP, decision-making authority is provided to the regional planning bodies, which are composed of federal, tribal, and state officials. The NOP recognizes that the coastal and marine spatial plans will need to respond to the needs of all who rely on the marine environment for economic and environmental services, and that effective consultation with the full range of these groups is essential to build the relationships needed to achieve national and regional goals for ocean management. Therefore, stakeholder involvement in the development of regional plans is an important responsibility assigned to the regional planning bodies.
The purpose of this document is to provide an overarching set of suggested principles for effectively engaging all stakeholders in a CMSP process. In developing this informational resource document, the Udall Foundation’s U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution (U.S. Institute) reviewed current and past CMSP stakeholder processes in the United States and internationally, analyzed academic literature on stakeholder engagement best practices, and reviewed surveys and white papers about desirable stakeholder involvement mechanisms from various interest groups, including government, tribal, environmental and ocean user groups. The principles described in this document are drawn from this research and from the U.S. Institute’s experience in developing similar guidelines for a range of complex federal and regional stakeholder involvement efforts.
Although high seas resources are being exploited, reciprocal legal obligations to protect its environment have not been met. Marine spatial planning (MSP) is clearly a practical way forward, particularly for the high seas, where non-spatial monitoring is difficult, and where data gaps obstruct conventional management approaches. To ensure the effective application of MSP in the high seas, however, some institutional reforms are necessary. This paper outlines the main hurdles, summarizes existing high seas spatial protections, presents an example of a high seas marine protected area that resulted through MSP, identifies three institutional priorities, and suggests three immediate steps.
During recent years, marine spatial planning has been the focus of considerable interest throughout the world, particularly in heavily used marine areas. Numerous attempts have been made to define the scope and nature of marine spatial planning, but few have discussed how to put it into practice. Read more
The guide uses a clear, straightforward step-by-step approach to show how marine spatial planning can be set up and applied toward achieving ecosystem-based management. Most steps are illustrated with relevant examples from the real world.
The guide aims at providing:
- Understanding what marine spatial planning is about
- Insight in the consecutive steps and tasks of setting up a successful marine spatial planning initiative that can help achieving ecosystem-based management
- Awareness of what has worked and what has not in marine spatial planning practice around the world
The 10 steps for marine spatial planning include:
Step 1 Defining need and establishing authority
Step 2 Obtaining financial support
Step 3 Organizing the process (pre-planning)
Step 4 Organizing stakeholder participation
Step 5 Defining and analyzing existing conditions
Step 6 Defining and analyzing future conditions
Step 7 Developing and approving the spatial management plan
Step 8 Implementing and enforcing the spatial management plan
Step 9 Monitoring and evaluating performance
Step 10 Adapting the marine spatial management process
Although highly recognized as needed, studies linking gender and coastal/marine management are scarce. This research illustrates the importance of gender analysis in natural resource management by linking gender and coastal management i.e. Marine Spatial Planning. The research was conducted in various Zanzibar seascapes (Unguja Island, Tanzania). Using a typology comprising gender structure, symbolism and identity; the results show a clear gendered division of labor, highly associated with a gender symbolism in which traditional roles of women as responsible for reproduction activities played a major role. Men used the whole seascape for their activities, while women remained in coastal forests and shallow areas collecting wood, invertebrates and farming seaweed. These activities allowed women to combine productive and reproductive work. Ecosystem importance for subsistence decreased with distance from land for both genders, while the importance for income increased with distance for men. Both genders acknowledged seagrasses as very important for income. Income closely followed the universal pattern of men earning more. Identities were defined by traditional ideas like “women are housewives”, while men identities were strongly associated with fisheries with reinforced masculinity. Livelihood diversity was higher for women also showing a tendency of slow change into other roles. Management was found to be strongly androcentric, revealing a deep gender inequality. The research exemplifies how a gender analysis can be conducted for management enhancement. It also invites replication around the world. If management is found to be androcentric in coastal locations elsewhere, a serious gender inequality can be at hand at global level.
From 2009 to 2011, marine spatial planning (MSP) rapidly gained visibility in the United States as a promising ocean management tool. A few small-scale planning efforts were completed in state waters, and the Obama Administration proposed a framework for large-scale regional MSP throughout the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone. During that same time period, the authors engaged a variety of U.S ocean stakeholders in a series of dialogs with several goals: to share information about what MSP is or could be, to hear stakeholder views and concerns about MSP, and to foster better understanding between those who depend on ocean resources for their livelihood and ocean conservation advocates. The stakeholder meetings were supplemented with several rounds of in-depth interviews and a survey. Despite some predictable areas of conflict, project participants agreed on a number of issues related to stakeholder engagement in MSP: all felt strongly that government planners need to engage outsiders earlier, more often, more meaningfully, and through an open and transparent process. Equally important, the project affirmed the value of bringing unlike parties together at the earliest opportunity to learn, talk, and listen to others with whom they rarely engage.