Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) offers the possibility of democratising management of the seas. MSP is, however, increasingly implemented as a form of post-political planning, dominated by the logic of neoliberalism, and a belief in the capacity of managerial-technological apparatuses to address complex socio-political problems, with little attention paid to issues of power and inequality. There is growing concern that MSP is not facilitating a paradigm shift towards publicly engaged marine management, and that it may simply repackage power dynamics in the rhetoric of participation to legitimise the agendas of dominant actors. This raises questions about the legitimacy and inclusivity of participatory MSP. Research on stakeholder engagement within MSP has predominately focused on assessing experiences of active MSP participants and has not evaluated the democratic or inclusive nature of these processes. Adopting the Northeast Ocean Planning initiative in the US as a case study, this paper provides the first study of exclusion and non-participation of stakeholders in an MSP process. Three major issues are found to have had an impact on exclusion and non-participation: poor communication and a perception that the process was deliberately exclusionary; issues arising from fragmented governance, territorialisation and scale; and lack of specificity regarding benefits or losses that might accrue from the process. To be effective, participatory MSP practice must: develop mechanisms that recognise the complexity of socio-spatial relationships in the marine environment; facilitate participation in meaningful spatial decision-making, rather than in post-ideological, objective-setting processes; and create space for debate about the very purpose of MSP processes.
Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP)
Access, defined as the ability to use and benefit from available marine resources or areas of the ocean or coast, is important for the well-being and sustainability of coastal communities. In Canada, access to marine resources and ocean spaces is a significant issue for many coastal and Indigenous communities due to intensifying activity and competition in the marine environment. The general trend of loss of access has implications for these communities, and for Canadian society. In this review and policy perspective, we argue that access for coastal and Indigenous communities should be a priority consideration in all policies and decision-making processes related to fisheries and the ocean in Canada. This paper reviews how access affects the well-being of coastal communities, factors that support or undermine access, and research priorities to inform policy. Recommended actions include: ensuring access is transparently considered in all ocean-related decisions; supporting research to fill knowledge gaps on access to enable effective responses; making data accessible and including communities in decision-making that grants or restricts access to adjacent marine resources and spaces; ensuring updated laws, policies and planning processes explicitly incorporate access considerations; and, identifying and prioritizing actions to maintain and increase access. Taking action now could reverse the current trend and ensure that coastal and Indigenous communities thrive in the future. This is not just a Canadian issue. Globally, the ability of coastal and Indigenous communities to access and benefit from the marine environment should be at the forefront in all deliberations related to the oceans.
Increasingly recreational fisheries are being managed as socioecological systems using spatially explicit and participatory place based approaches. Such approaches require considering the spatial dynamics of a resource (fish) as well as its users (anglers). While the former is comparatively well studied, very little empirical information exists regarding the spatial ranges of angler travel to fishing locations. To address this and ultimately inform spatial and place based management approaches, the statistical properties of angler travel were assessed in six popular marine recreational fisheries in Florida, USA. Expected angler travel distances differed among species, regions, and years, with most trips in certain fisheries (e.g., common snook) made by anglers residing in close proximity to the fishing site (< 30 km), while anglers targeting other species (e.g., red snapper) usually traveled more than 200 km from their residence to fish. In concert with literature, these results suggest that some fisheries may be better suited than others for more spatially explicit or place based approaches to management. More broadly, these results can be used to better identify and engage stakeholders in management, anticipate effects of spatially explicit management decisions, and assess relative importance of different fisheries for attracting out-of-region or state trips, which may be important for local economies.
Competing usage of marine space has prompted several coastal nations to implement marine spatial planning (MSP). While progressive governments promote the deployment of renewable energy technologies (RETs) in order to meet renewable energy capacity and greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets, offshore RETs become another player operating within a finite and already stressed marine environment. This paper applies the sectoral MSP process employed by Scotland to the Nova Scotia context in order to draft a MSP for the province's tidal energy sector. Applicable legislation is reviewed in order to establish the regulatory authorities with powers to plan for both the marine development and ecosystem protection agendas. The scoping process identifies suitable resource areas based on the operational parameters of commercially viable tidal current turbines (TCTs), while the sustainability appraisal identifies areas of cultural, industry, ecological, and socioeconomic constraint and exclusion. Plan option areas emanating from the applied methodology demonstrated a 238.345 km2 (98.1%) increase in suitable TCT deployment area than the marine renewable energy areas identified in Nova Scotia's Marine Renewable Energy Act which did not undertake such a methodology.
After being displaced, juvenile reef fishes are able to return home over large distances. This strong homing behaviour is extraordinary and may allow insights into the longer-term spatial ecology of fish communities. For example, it appears intuitive that strong homing behaviour should be indicative of long-term site fidelity. However, this connection has rarely been tested. We quantified the site fidelity of juvenile fishes of four species after returning home following displacement. Two species, parrotfishes and Pomacentrus moluccensis, showed significantly reduced site fidelity after returning home. On average, they disappeared from their home sites almost 3 d earlier than expected. Mortality or competitive exclusion does not seem to be the main reasons for their disappearance. Rather, we suggest an increased propensity to relocate after encountering alternative reef locations while homing. It appears that some juvenile fishes may have a higher innate spatial flexibility than their strict homing drive suggests.
How do technologies of power make the world governable? The understanding of how management techniques create governability remains rather poor. In this article, I analyse how spatial regulation in Norwegian fisheries direct human behaviour towards scientific, political, and administrative objectives. Like other fisheries’ regulations, they contribute to governmentalisation and governability, and this article illustrate how this happens. Governance aims towards specific outcomes, but in the attempt to make the world governable, the governing and those who are governed are changed and new social orders may be the result. Thus, governing instruments are not only instruments for the direction of behaviour, but also instruments for social change.
Marine spatial planning is increasingly used to manage the demands on marine areas, both spatially and temporally, where several different users may compete for resources or space, to ensure that development is as sustainable as possible. Diminishing sea-ice coverage in the Arctic will allow for potential increases in economic exploitation, and failure to plan for cross-sectoral management could have negative economic and environmental results. During the ACCESS programme, a marine spatial planning tool was developed for the Arctic, enabling the integrated study of human activities related to hydrocarbon exploitation, shipping and fisheries, and the possible environmental impacts, within the context of the next 30 years of climate change. In addition to areas under national jurisdiction, the Arctic Ocean contains a large area of high seas. Resources and ecosystems extend across political boundaries. We use three examples to highlight the need for transboundary planning and governance to be developed at a regional level.
The Canary Islands, as many islands and coastal regions, are characterized by no conventional energy sources (but renewable resources, mainly wind and solar), by a high population density and land scarcity. Taking into account this context, it is crucial to determine the offshore wind energy potential as a first step for the energy planning. For this purpose, a methodology adapted to islands’ and coastal regions’ requirements has been developed. The methodology is based on GIS (Geographical Information Systems), and takes into account technical, economic and spatial constrains. Wind turbines (bottom-fixed or floating according to the bathymetry) are placed within the resulting suitable areas, quantifying also the energy production and its cost. The economic analysis includes the calculation of the LCOE (Levelized Cost Of Energy), including integration costs, and the resulting resource cost curves. The methodology has been applied to a practical case, the Canary Islands. Results show that the electricity produced by offshore wind farms exceeds the yearly electricity demand. Moreover, the offshore wind energy cost is lower than the current electricity cost. The analysis provides further useful indicators such as percentage of suitable areas, surface covered by wind turbines, array density of turbines and marginal offshore wind energy cost.
Small-scale fisheries are undeniably important for livelihoods, food security and income around the globe. However, they face major challenges, including global market and demographic shifts, policy changes and climate variations that may threaten the wellbeing, health and safety of fishing communities. Over the years, various forms of spatial management have been implemented in small-scale fisheries as a potential solution to problems afflicting these systems. The benefits of such approaches can be numerous for both ecosystems and coastal communities. In addition to the persistent challenges influencing small-scale fisheries practices, the emerging effects of climate change pose serious risks to coastal ecosystems and fishing communities, especially in low-lying islands. Despite a growing recognition of both the benefits of spatial management and the adverse effects of climate change on small-scale fisheries, integration of these concepts in a consistent and comprehensive way has not yet occurred. Spatial management has the potential to foster small-scale fisheries adaptation to climate change, however, in the face of such a global and transboundary phenomenon, management strategies will need to be carefully designed and implemented. First, key considerations for climate-informed spatial management in small-scale fisheries were identified. Second, these key considerations were illustrated in two selected case studies in Pacific Island countries and territories (i.e. Fiji and Papua New Guinea). Finally, the challenges associated with spatial management in a changing climate are discussed and ways forward for advancing this type of management as a climate adaptation approach for small-scale fisheries in the Pacific and beyond are proposed.
Marine spatial planning is an important tool to achieve a more ecosystem-based governance approach to marine ecosystems. Marine ecosystems often transcend national jurisdictional boundaries, so the compatibility of national policies and legal structures are important prerequisites for transboundary marine spatial planning. This article explores marine spatial planning in the North Sea ecosystem and analyses whether national policies and legal structures in the Netherlands and Norway are compatible enough. Both countries have an extensive body of law regulating the different uses of the North Sea and have also developed integrated management approaches for ‘their’ respective parts of the North Sea. The article demonstrates that marine spatial planning in regional sea areas is complicated when national legal frameworks and governance structures and traditions are very different.