Spatial conservation prioritization is used worldwide for designing marine protected areas (MPA) that achieve set conservation objectives with minimal impacts to marine users. People involved in small-scale fisheries (SSF) may incur negative and disproportionate impacts from implementing MPAs, yet limited available data often restricts their representation in MPA planning. Using a Philippines case study, we focus here on the systematic design of a MPA network that aims to minimize and distribute costs equitably for SSF whilst achieving representation targets for biodiversity conservation. The objectives of the study are to: (1) document a participatory mapping approach for collecting SSF data for prioritization using the local knowledge of fishers; and (2) examine how the completeness and resolution of SSF data may affect prioritization outputs in terms of biodiversity representation, spatial efficiency, and distribution equity. In the data-poor region, we conducted participatory mapping workshops with fishers in 79 communities to collect data on the spatial distribution patterns of different SSF fisheries and communities, and employed remote sensing techniques to define coastal habitats, which were targeted for inclusion in MPAs. The datasets were integrated within the decision-support tool Marxan with Zones to develop three scenarios. The SSF data incorporated in each scenario varied based on their completeness (considered all fishing methods or only dominant methods) and resolution (fishing methods itemized by community or municipality). All scenarios derived MPA plans that met representation targets with similar area coverage. The outputs, however, varied in terms of distribution equity, measured by the distribution of opportunity costs (loss of fishing grounds) across different fisheries and communities. Scenarios that did not include minority fisheries or variations between communities, led to inequitable costs. These results highlight the need to incorporate detailed data on SSF at appropriate resolutions, and how this can be achieved through participatory approaches.
Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP)
Marine spatial planning (MSP) is advanced by its champions as an impartial and rational process that can address complex management issues. We argue that MSP is not innately rational and that it problematises marine issues in specific ways, often reflecting hegemonic agendas. The illusion of impartial rationality in MSP is derived from governmentalities that appear progressive but serve elite interests. By understanding the creation of governmentalities, we can design more equitable planning processes. We conceptualise governmentalities as consisting of problematisations, rationalities and governance technologies, and assess England’s first marine plans to understand how specific governmentalities de-radicalise MSP. We find that progressive framings of MSP outcomes, such as enhanced well-being, are deployed by the government to garner early support for MSP. These elements, however, become regressively problematised in later planning phases, where they are framed by the government as being difficult to achieve and are pushed into future iterations of the process. Eviscerating progressive elements from the planning process clears the way for the government to focus on implementing a neoliberal form of MSP. Efforts to foster radical MSP must pay attention to the emergence of governmentalities, how they travel through time/space and be cognisant of where difference can be inserted into planning processes. Achieving progressive MSP will require the creation of a political frontier early in the process, which cannot be passed until pathways for progressive socio-environmental outcomes have been established; advocacy for disenfranchised groups; broadening MSP evaluations to account for unintended impacts; and the monitoring of progressive objectives.
With the concept of marine spatial planning (MSP) firmly established in the UK with its own legislation, policies and plans underway, this paper critically revisits MSP as part of the wider debate associated with the social reconstruction of the marine environment, as first discussed by Peel and Lloyd’s seminal paper in 2004. We propose that their identified ‘marine problem’ remains and indeed has exacerbated. We ascertain that there has been much change in the governance of the marine environment that has both positively and negatively altered the way that society has (re)constructed solutions to that marine problem. We revisit Hannigan’s (1995) social constructionist framework, showing the degree to which the prerequisites have been satisfied, by providing an overview of how the marine problem has intensified in the preceding 15 years and how the marine problem has now captured the wider public’s attention. We then look at the how the response to the marine problem has evolved by examining at the current marine planning arrangements across the UK. We conclude by stating that the whence of MSP is clear, culminating with the formal introduction of MSP in the UK which has positively altered the way in which the marine environment is socially reconstructed. The whither is much more unclear. With a continually rapidly moving agenda of change, there is much more to be done for us to say that the marine problem has been successfully socially reconstructed.
Marine ecosystems are being continually impacted by human activities and, among these, fisheries have been one of the most damaging. Fisheries modify the structure and functioning of food-webs through biomass removal and physical damage to the seabed, leading to loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services provided by the oceans. The ecosystem-based approach to fisheries is considered the most efficient way to achieve the goal of sustainable use of marine resources while allowing for biodiversity protection. The Strait of Sicily is a biologically important area of the central Mediterranean Sea characterized by high habitat complexity and rich biodiversity, however, due to the multispecific nature of local fisheries and weak implementation of the adopted management plans, this region is particularly vulnerable. We used fishery independent time series (1994–2016) to identify the main demersal assemblages and map their spatial distribution. The pressure of fishing effort on each of these defined assemblages was then quantified in order to evaluate the impact of bottom trawling on demersal communities. Our results showed four spatially distinct and temporally stable assemblages of the Strait of Sicily. These have a clear spatial distribution, different species composition and biodiversity values and are driven primarily by environmental gradients (i.e., mainly depth and, to a lesser extent, surface salinity). The demersal assemblages were subsequently grouped in homogeneous areas characterized by specific communities of commercial and non-commercial species and response to trawling impacts. These areas are proposed as Spatial Managements Units to evaluate and manage demersal mixed fisheries, while also considering biodiversity conservation in the central Mediterranean Sea.
The Red Sea Project (TRSP) is a development that extends over 28,000 km2 along the shores of the Red Sea that will progress to become a sustainable luxury tourism destination on the west coast of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The destination incorporates the Al Wajh lagoon, a pristine 2,081 km2 area that includes 92 islands with valuable habitats (coral reefs, seagrass, and mangroves) and species of global conservation importance. The Red Sea Development Company, responsible for the execution of TRSP, has committed to achieve a net-positive impact on biodiversity while developing the site for sustainable tourism. This requires reaching conservation outcomes superior to those of a “business as usual” scenario for an undeveloped site. After careful optimization of the development plans to explore every opportunity to avoid impacts, we applied marine spatial planning to optimize the conservation of the Al Wajh lagoon in the presence of development. We subsequently tested five conservation scenarios (excluding and including development) using Marxan, a suite of tools designed to identify priority areas for protection on the basis of prescribed conservation objectives. We succeeded in creating a three-layer conservation zoning, achieving conservation outcomes as those possible in the “business as usual” scenario. Subsequently, we designed additional actions to remove existing pressures and generate net positive conservation outcomes. The results demonstrate that careful design and planning could potentially allow coastal development to enhance, rather than jeopardize, conservation.
During winter months, humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) frequent the coastal waters of Virginia near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Located within the Bay is Naval Station Norfolk, the world’s largest naval military installation, and the Port of Virginia, the sixth busiest container port in the United States. These large seaports, combined with the presence of recreational boaters, commercial fishing vessels, and sport-fishing boats, result in a constant heavy flow of vessel traffic through the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and adjacent areas. From December 2015 to February 2017, 35 satellite tags were deployed on humpback whales to gain a better understanding on the occurrence, movements, site-fidelity, and overall behavior of this species within this high-traffic region. The tags transmitted data for an average of 13.7 days (range 2.7–43.8 days). Location data showed that at some point during tag deployment, nearly all whales occurred within, or in close proximity to, the shipping channels located in the study area. Approximately one quarter of all filtered and modeled locations occurred within the shipping channels. Hierarchical state-space modeling results suggest that humpback whales spend considerable time (82.0%) engaged in foraging behavior at or near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Of the 106 humpback whales photo-identified during this research, nine individuals (8.5%) had evidence of propeller strikes. One whale that had previously been tagged and tracked within shipping channels, was found dead on a local beach; a fatality resulting from a vessel strike. The findings from this study demonstrate that a substantial number of humpback whales frequent high-traffic areas near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, increasing the likelihood of injurious vessel interactions that can result in mortalities.
As human use of the oceans increases, marine spatial planning (MSP) is being more widely adopted to achieve improved environmental, economic, and social outcomes. However, there is a lack of practical guidance for stakeholder driven, scientifically informed MSP processes in small island and data‐limited contexts. Here, we present an overview of MSP on the Caribbean island of Montserrat, with a focus on the scientific and technical input that helped inform the process. Montserrat presents an interesting case study of MSP in the small island context as it has ocean uses that are common to many islands, namely small‐scale fisheries and tourism, but the marine environment has been heavily impacted due to volcanic activity. We detail the methods for data collection and analysis and the decision‐making process that contributed to a marine spatial plan. We highlight aspects of the process that may be useful for other small islands embarking on MSP, and lessons learned regarding scientific support, including the need for on‐site scientific support and guidance throughout MSP, the importance of setting clear objectives, working within data limitations and making data accessible, and choosing and using appropriate decision support tools.
Maritime Cultural Heritage (MCH) today stands as a witness of early human naval endeavours. Jeopardized by modern days’ maritime activities, MCH requires a holistic planning approach for conservation management, taking into consideration the future dimension of humankind’s maritime aspirations. This need could be incorporated within a Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) framework, an emerging multidisciplinary process that seeks to prevent conflicts among maritime activities, whilst promoting environmental conservation and sustainable economic development.
This paper identifies main issues related to MCH, and addresses the role that MSP can play in the conservation of MCH, illustrated by two examples from Lebanon.
This thesis analyses the projects that are used to produce coherent transnational Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) by the EU, in accordance with the MSP directive. As the number of projects have increased, there are so many that there is a possibility that knowledge generated in the projects does not reach subsequent projects. The research was carried out by way of a qualitative content analysis, and used a framework based on planning theory, MSP theory, projectification theory, knowledge management and organisational learning. The coupling of theories allowed for identification of positive and negative consequences of using projects, and what mechanisms facilitate for knowledge management within temporary organisations such as projects. Basing the analysis on planning theory and MSP theory allowed the research to focus on what knowledge was relevant to the knowledge generating process. Together in the framework the theories made it possible to process the large amount of data in the analysis and produce comprehensible results. The findings indicate that when projects have a stable core of participating civil servants and organisations, it is easier to retain knowledge between projects. The results also point towards good knowledge retention in general between MSP projects that are designed to build on one another, but less so regarding the knowledge retention from the supporting research projects, suggesting that closer collaboration might be in order for the generated knowledge to come to good use.
- Connectivity of marine populations and ecosystems is crucial to maintaining and enhancing their structure, distribution, persistence, resilience and productivity. Artificial hard substrate, such as that associated with oil and gas platforms, provides settlement opportunities for species adapted to hard substrates in areas of soft sediment. The contribution of artificial hard substrate and the consequences of its removal (e.g. through decommissioning) to marine connectivity is not clear, yet such information is vital to inform marine spatial planning and future policy decisions on the use and protection of marine resources.
- This study demonstrates the application of a social network analysis approach to quantify and describe the ecological connectivity, informed by particle tracking model outputs, of hard substrate marine communities in the North Sea. Through comparison of networks with and without artificial hard substrate, and based on hypothetical decommissioning scenarios, this study provides insight into the contribution of artificial hard substrate, and the consequence of decommissioning, to the structure and function of marine community connectivity.
- This study highlights that artificial hard substrate, despite providing only a small proportion of the total area of hard substrate, increases the geographic extent and connectivity of the hard substrate network, bridging gaps, thereby providing ‘stepping stones’ between otherwise disconnected areas of natural hard substrate. Compared to the baseline scenario, a decommissioning scenario with full removal of oil and gas platforms results in a nearly 60% reduction in connectivity. Such reduction in connectivity may have negative implications for species’ distribution, gene flow and resilience following disturbance or exploitation of marine hard substrate communities.
- Synthesis and applications. Social network analysis can provide valuable insight into connectivity between marine communities and enable the evaluation of impacts associated with changes to the marine environment. Providing standardized, transparent and robust outputs, such a tool is useful to facilitate understanding across different disciplines, including marine science, marine spatial planning and marine policy. Social network analysis therefore has great potential to address current knowledge gaps with respect to marine connectivity and crucially facilitate assessment of the impacts of changes in offshore substrate as part of the marine spatial planning process, thereby informing policy and marine management decisions.