Marine/maritime spatial planning (MSP) aims to address conflicts between different sea uses and conflicts between such uses and marine environments. However, how to evaluate, particularly quantitatively evaluate, an MSP scheme on its performance of achieving the above objectives is still an issue. In this paper, an MSP scheme evaluation framework focusing on sea use compatibility and the protection degree of key ecological areas is put forward. First, the intensity of every sea use is graded on a scale of 1–10 based on its demand on marine resources and impacts on marine environments, and key ecological areas are identified based on scientific criteria for ecologically or biologically significant marine areas of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Then, a set of formulas are designed to calculate the conflict value among sea uses. The protection degree in a sea area is calculated through buffer zone tools and overlap analysis in Geographic Information System (GIS). The proposed method is applied to a case study of Xiamen, China, by comparing its marine spatial plans of version 2007 and version 2013. The results show that the sea use intensity increases from 3.51 to 4.20 on average in the Western Sea of Xiamen. The key ecological area protection value decreases from 0.59 to 0.45, and the sea use conflicts value decreases from 0.28 to 0.20. The results demonstrate that MSP is successful in reducing sea use conflicts in version 2013 in the context of an increasing sea use intensity. However, the protection degree of key ecological areas needs to be strengthened. Further statistical analysis of the results provides more information for the cause analysis of the performance changes. This information would inform potential revisions of the current marine spatial plan and future sea use management. The proposed method provides a feasible approach to analyse the MSP scheme in a quantitative way.
Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP)
The implementation of marine spatial planning (MSP) is bringing together a new body of practitioners who are largely drawn from related professions but have relatively little specific education, training or qualifications in MSP. This is partly due to the newness of the field and the limited opportunities available for personal development. Educational capacity is developing, though MSP content is mostly being added on to existing marine-related programmes. Taking a learning-centred approach, this article seeks to contribute to the development of higher-education curricula that can support a newly-forming MSP practitioner and research community. The proposals presented here are based upon existing educational provision, the ongoing experience of an Erasmus+ partnership in MSP teaching and learning and the results of a related survey. This lays emphasis upon enabling students: to gain a comprehensive, cross-disciplinary body of knowledge and understanding; to develop a strong set of academic and professional skills to underpin MSP practice and research; and to benefit from a variety of methods of learning, teaching and assessment that are designed to facilitate autonomous learning and skills development. Educators should be encouraged to respond to current practice needs and work collaboratively with students in developing courses that respond to their concerns and ambitions.
To date, most marine protected areas (MPAs) have been designated on an ad hoc basis. However, a comprehensive regional and global network should be designed to be representative of all aspects of biodiversity, including populations, species, and biogenic habitats. A good exemplar would be the Coral Triangle (CT) because it is the most species rich area in the ocean but only 2% of its area is in any kind of MPA. Our analysis consisted of five different groups of layers of biodiversity features: biogenic habitat, species richness, species of special conservation concern, restricted range species, and areas of importance for sea turtles. We utilized the systematic conservation planning software Zonation as a decision-support tool to ensure representation of biodiversity features while balancing selection of protected areas based on the likelihood of threats. Our results indicated that the average representation of biodiversity features within the existing MPA system is currently about 5%. By systematically increasing MPA coverage to 10% of the total area of the CT, the average representation of biodiversity features within the MPA system would increase to over 37%. Marine areas in the Halmahera Sea, the outer island arc of the Banda Sea, the Sulu Archipelago, the Bismarck Archipelago, and the Malaita Islands were identified as priority areas for the designation of new MPAs. Moreover, we recommended that several existing MPAs be expanded to cover additional biodiversity features within their adjacent areas, including MPAs in Indonesia (e.g., in the Birds Head of Papua), the Philippines (e.g., in the northwestern part of the Sibuyan Sea), Malaysia (e.g., in the northern part of Sabah), Papua New Guinea (e.g., in the Milne Bay Province), and the Solomon Islands (e.g., around Santa Isabel Island). An MPA system that covered 30% of the CT would include 65% of the biodiversity features. That just two-thirds of biodiversity was represented by one-third of the study area supports calls for at least 30% of the ocean to be in no-fishing MPA. This assessment provides a blueprint for efficient gains in marine conservation through the extension of the current MPA system in the CT region. Moreover, similar data could be compiled for other regions, and globally, to design ecologically representative MPAs.
In recent years the European Union has firmly committed itself to energy from oceans as a means of decarbonising the European energy system. Despite a favourable political landscape, the development of offshore renewables still faces economic and technological barriers, which are coupled with the inherent difficulties of an increasingly industrialised marine environment, such as complex evolving regulation, lack of knowledge regarding the possible environmental impact of such an activity, as well as spatial conflicts with other traditional and emerging uses. Most of the coastal Member States have adopted Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) as a fundamental tool for integrated and sustainable management of human activities in the marine environment. MSP is capable of definitively driving the use of offshore renewable facilities. Its proper application supports decision making, simplifies and accelerates the process of obtaining permits, improves compatibility of uses, integrates stakeholders in planning, prevents environmental deterioration of sensitive areas, enhances the availability of information and promotes cross-border co-operation. This paper aims to evaluate the influence of maritime spatial planning processes on the advance of blue energy within the framework of the European Union. The results show positive relationships between MSP and the development of offshore renewable energy in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Between 2010 and 2016, the Orkney Islands Council, Highland Council and Marine Scotland have collaborated to develop a pilot Marine Spatial Plan for the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters in Scotland. This paper explores the challenges of marine spatial planning processes by looking at the possibilities for fisheries communities to mobilize their social capital – in the form of bonding, bridging or linking – in order to re-position and to empower themselves in these processes. This paper aims to uncover the resilience of local communities that deploy social capital in order to influence MSP processes and safeguard their own interests. For this article ten weeks of qualitative fieldwork in the form of in-depth interviews and participant observation with stakeholders of the pilot marine spatial plan were conducted on the Orkney Islands in Scotland. The strong bonding social capital among fishermen in Orkney has resulted in a resilient community identity which allows for collaboration and self-organization, but also creates a defensive mentality which does not favor linking. Furthermore, a lack of trust in governmental authorities inhibits the mobilization of linking social capital among fishermen, obstructing the ability to access power through cross-scale connections. In response the fisheries community uses bridging social capital outside governance arenas to access networks and mobilize resources to strengthen its socio-economic and political position in support of future linking social capital. Researching this complex interrelation and functioning of social capital uncovers some of the social dimensions and socio-institutional constraints for fisheries engagement with and power in marine spatial planning.
Ecosystem based management (EBM) is an ocean management theory that examines an ecosystem holistically, accounting for both human uses and natural processes. EBM has gained popularity due to growing conflicts over ocean space, fueled by increasing demands for natural resources and a rising awareness for environmental values. EBM asserts that by scoping short-term natural resource exploitation to allow for the preservation of the ecosystem's core structure and function, sustainable long-term exploitation can be achieved. Therefore, determining the ecosystem's structure and function is a main tenet to EBM. To translate EBM theory to practice, important ecological areas, or “ecological hotspots,” are identified to understand the core ecosystem spaces that drive overall function. Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is a process in which to operationalize EBM theory, including ecological hotspots. The literature has taken time to assess EBM from the theoretical perspective, however few studies exist that examine EBM-MSP interactions as EBM theory is translated into practice and secondly compare approaches across countries. This paper focuses on a comparative analysis of how ecological hotspots were (or are being) identified within two ecosystems, the Barents Sea and Gulf of Maine. The EBM ocean plans to be assessed are the Norwegian Barents Sea-Lofoten ocean management plan (BSMP) and the U.S. Northeast Ocean Plan (NEOP). It is found that the motivating factors that prompted the development of the BSMP and NEOP influenced when and how quickly ecological hotspots were determined. This paper aims to contribute to the discussion revolving around how EBM-MSP decision-making processes are operationalized.
The Great Barrier Reef is internationally recognised for its natural and heritage value. Australian Government established the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act, 1975. The Act provides a legal regime for the protection of the natural and heritage values of the Reef. The Act incorporated spatial zoning and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) to achieve the objective of ecologically sustainable use and management. The Act applies many principles including Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) to achieve the objective. The current management mechanism under MSP has a significant achievement in the protection of the Reef region. However, there are many shortcomings of the Act to achieve the objective of ecologically sustainable use and management. Protection of ecosystem health, resilience, marine pollution and risk of climate change are the challenges that the Park faces. This paper analyses the shortcomings and achievements of the Act based on the Review Report, 2006, the Outlook Report 2009 and the Outlook Report 2014. The analysis explores that the overall performance of the Act is poor. Therefore, this research recommends for new management practice under a strategic action plan. The Plan should provide adequate protection against the new challenges that the Park faces.
Marine spatial planning (MSP) has been proposed by both scholars and managers as an approach through which practitioners can achieve integration in the governance of marine space. Although integration is a key tenet of MSP, relatively little empirical research has been done, especially in the U.S., to examine how practitioners achieve integration through the application of this approach. We set out to examine the tools, techniques, and strategies used to apply MSP in the U.S., focusing on case studies in Washington, Rhode Island, and San Francisco. In this paper we report results from these cases, considering the governance dimensions of integration and the processes through which it has been facilitated, focusing on four integration elements: interagency and intergovernmental, stakeholder, sectoral, and knowledge integration. We found evidence of all forms of integration across these three cases. Findings draw attention to achieving horizontal interagency and intergovernmental integration through formal and informal techniques, with informal techniques being especially useful; the use of a mix of formal and informal techniques to facilitate stakeholder, sectoral, and knowledge integration; and practitioners' focus on a narrow subset of sectors associated with planning drivers. We note that these tools, techniques and strategies are largely indirect means of integration, working within existing policy and regulatory structures and institutional arrangements. We conclude with a discussion of recommendations for future MSP research and practice.
Europe's Blue Growth strategy promotes the intensification of human activities at sea and increases the environmental risk such as the decline of the provision of key ecosystem services and potential conflicts among human activities. The fishing sector, in the Alboran Sea, is economically and culturally one of the most important and relies on overexploited target species such as European hake (Merlucius merlucius). Here we identified and quantified the impact of human pressures on the capacity of marine habitats to support the provision of food as an important ecosystem service. We modelled the spatial distribution of nursery areas of European hake in the Alboran Sea, using General Additive Models (GAM) and overlaid those with European Nature Information System (EUNIS) habitats. A sensitivity analysis of hake nursery areas to cumulative human impacts identified the Bay of Malaga as the most sensitive area with trawling frequencies up to 60 times higher than the habitats recovery time. Further, we identified an increased conflict potential among human activities such as trawling and extraction with the presence of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which provide MPAs a high vulnerability similar to that found in unprotected areas. Future scenarios considering the increase of renewable energy and alternative food production show conflicts between aquaculture and MPAs as well as offshore wind farms and offshore shipping. Hence, our results show strong arguments for an integrated spatial management approach, including benthic trawling. We also suggest restricting trawling activities inside MPAs to safeguard the habitats capacity to support ecosystem services. Our spatially explicit assessment framework is transparent and transferable to other Mediterranean regions. Thus, it can function as a model on how to incorporate cumulative effect assessments in marine spatial planning processes.
The ecosystem approach to management (EAM) is a policy principle and management tool of increasing importance in European environmental governance. In the Baltic Sea region (BSR), this approach has developed in line with a progressive environmental management agenda, reaching from hot spot solutions to new holistic agendas. This paper examines the spatial dimensions of the EAM in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). The analysis is based on an analytical framework which combines regional environmental governance with debates on socio-spatial relations. It is found that the development, implementation, and spread of EAM corresponds with changing socio-spatial relations. Reterritorialisation of both institutional arrangements and policies is needed to solve cross-boundary problems. Place-making such as hot spots and pilot projects (e.g., in maritime spatial planning) are first steps towards the upscaling of local experiments and re-scaling of policies is also needed for the implementation of EAM in a macroregional multi-level setting, stretching from the EU to the local level. Analyzing regional environmental governance from a spatial perspective reveals institutional ambiguities and even institutional voids because the successful implementation of EAM requires new institutional arrangements.