This research reveals attitudes towards enclosure and privatisation of ocean space. The development of spatially distributed industries like marine renewables and aquaculture, the need for marine conservation, and the ongoing emphasis on spatial aspects of marine planning, have resulted in increasing encroachment into the marine environment. The study, situated in Scotland, investigates the attitudes of stakeholders who are affecting, or being affected by, these processes. The attitude analysis, done by Q methodology, highlights potentially conflicting priorities and processes. Five unique factors emerged. These are expressed as: free seas, the ‘greater good’, mitigating losses, local powers, and the status quo. The topography of views revealed demonstrates clear tensions between key players in Scotland's marine planning landscape, and calls into question the processes for effective collaborative working for sustainable and conflict-free development at sea. The paper concludes with an appeal for changes in rights to be accounted for in decision making processes, accompanied by better dissemination of information regarding rights at sea, governance and the future of the blue economy.
Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP)
Although stakeholder participation is transversal to other steps of the Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) process, its recognition and adoption is context dependent. Considering that MSP plans need to be periodically evaluated, not only in relation to their outputs and outcomes, but also through an analysis of the processes used to achieve the results, criteria to evaluate participation throughout the whole process are needed. However, a robust and comprehensive assessment framework focused specifically on participation is not available up to date. Therefore, this study proposed an assessment for such operational analysis in order to support assessment of consequences related to the participatory strategy chosen (e.g., increased social acceptance). A Stakeholder Participation Assessment Framework (SPAF) was developed and divided in two phases: Phase I based on key theoretical aspects ‘why, who, when and how to engage stakeholders’, as well as on criteria for costs (these five criteria were divided in 15 sub-criteria, and instructions based on social science knowledge to analyse each one were given); and Phase II in which a list of questions about participatory consequences can be addressed based on specific criteria of the first phase and stakeholders' feedback. SPAF can be used not only to evaluate MSP planning cycles but also to plan meaningful participatory processes; therefore, contributing to strengthen MSP processes and to promote more horizontal and integrated ocean governance approaches.
Marine coastal environments are often socially complex public areas that need equitable spatial planning approaches. Understanding the extent of extractive and non-extractive uses and the social dynamics that may be driving patterns of use is essential if the spatial plan is to support the social resilience of a marine area. In this study, a combination of fuzzy-set multi-criteria GIS modelling and negative tie social network analysis were used to explore social uses and conflicts based on sketch-mapping interviews with five key stakeholder groups (ecotourism, Aboriginal Traditional Owners, commercial and recreational fishing, and water sports) within a Marine Protected Area (MPA). Most of the areas within the MPA were regularly used by the stakeholders, with non-extractive and extractive stakeholders occupying similar spatial extents, with each stakeholder group having a different pattern of use. However, stakeholder groups had different levels of perceived priority to access these areas and support of the current spatial management plan, especially within the ecotourism and Aboriginal Traditional Owner groups. The investigation of social conflicts in shaping patterns of use revealed that most stakeholder conflicts do not necessarily occur in areas of overlaps, but generally in areas of high biodiversity and easy access through marine infrastructure. Ecotourism groups had the most perceived conflicts over marine space, which shaped their use towards certain no-take zones that protected high biodiversity and would also provide protection from other conflicting stakeholder uses (e.g., boating, fishing). Overall, the method outlined in this paper presents a way for marine spatial management to consider not only the extent and diversity of social uses in a marine environment but also the spatial-social dynamics that may determine the success of the spatial plan in supporting long-term social resilience.
After a spout of optimism surrounding Myanmar's so-called democratic transition in the post-2010 period, civil-society organisations and academics are beginning to highlight rampant and violent resource grabs unfolding across the country. Delving into the Northern Tanintharyi landscape in the Southeast, this article aims to understand interrelated dynamics of coastal and agrarian transformation during the state-mediated capitalist transition of the past 30 years. Conceptually developing a landscape-approach that sees individual ‘grabs’ in a relational manner and as part of broader political-economic struggles, the article shows how the Myanmar military regime sought a conjoined ocean and land control-grab in pursuit of rent extraction from productive foreign capital in fisheries and off-shore gas sectors. Empirically, these dynamics are traced from the scale of regional geopolitical struggles down to two particular villages in Northern Tanintharyi – highlighting resulting processes of differentiation along lines of class and gender. This conceptual framework and explanation of drivers behind ocean and land control-grabbing, in turn, complicates prevalent policy solutions in Myanmar (and elsewhere) that reduce the question of resolving resource-grabs to the pursuit of an elusive ‘good governance’.
This study re-examines the marine spatial planning (MSP) process for Germany's North Sea exclusive economic zone (EEZ), one of the earliest European examples of MSP. It does so in order to answer whether in this case MSP was an example of post-political planning (Swyngedouw, 2010; Tafon, 2018; Tafon et al., 2018). Building on earlier research (Jay et al., 2012; Kannen, 2014), the analysis adopts a political ecology perspective, and uses a stakeholder analysis and interviews to identify main actors in the MSP process and their interests in and perceptions of the North Sea, its management and the MSP process. The results confirm earlier research that MSP was used strategically to facilitate offshore wind energy development at the expense of other uses. MSP resolved some matters of spatial competition but not all, and solved few underlying conflicts, since these involve deep-seated tensions among diverse actor perceptions of the North Sea and its management. The research finds the German North Sea EEZ remains a politicized environment, in which MSP is a post-political approach to planning. The research highlights inter-agency tensions and politics as further signs that MSP as post-political planning has not eliminated politics in sea management.
- Understanding marine mammal distributions is essential for conservation, as it can help identify critical habitat where management action can be taken. The semi‐enclosed Gulf of Corinth, Greece, has been identified as an Important Marine Mammal Area by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force, based on the regular occurrence of odontocete populations. A 7‐year (2011–17) dataset of boat‐based surveys was used to model and predict the distribution of striped dolphins, Stenella coeruleoalba, common dolphins, Delphinus delphis, and common bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, in the entire Gulf (2400 km2).
- Multiple geographic, bathymetric, oceanographic, and anthropogenic variables were incorporated in a combined generalized additive model and generalized estimation equation (GAM‐GEE) framework to describe dolphin occurrence and produce distribution maps.
- Modelling indicated that striped and common dolphins prefer deep waters (>300 m) in the central and southern part of the Gulf, whereas bottlenose dolphins prefer shallow waters (<300 m) and areas close to fish farms along the northern–central shore.
- Model‐based maps of the predicted distribution identified a preferred habitat encompassing most of the Gulf, also revealing: (i) hot spots of dolphin distribution covering about 40% of the Gulf's surface; (ii) an almost complete overlap of striped and common dolphin distribution, consistent with the hypothesis that common dolphins modified their habitat preferences to live in mixed species groups with striped dolphins; (iii) a clear partitioning of striped/common and bottlenose dolphin habitat; and (iv) the important role played by fish farms for bottlenose dolphins, consistent with studies conducted elsewhere in Greece.
- Evidence provided by this study calls for area‐specific and species‐specific management measures to mitigate anthropogenic impacts.
Coasts are among our most valuable natural assets but are under intense pressure from human use and climate change. Despite this, coasts – as a coherent ecological unit – have been poorly included in conservation plans, largely because they are inadequately delineated. There are usually gaps and overlaps at the edges of the separate terrestrial-, estuarine- and marine-realm maps, and often no clarity on which specific coastal boundary (e.g., high-water mark) was used, other than vaguely, ‘the coastline’. This particularly compromises conservation and management of ecotonal, intertidal ecosystems along realm-map seams because they are poorly defined and mapped. Therefore, a key step in advancing coastal conservation, assessment, planning and management is to generate a fine-scale ecosystem-type map that is seamless across realms. We undertook this for South Africa, aiming to delineate the ecotone into ecologically meaningful zones comprising structurally and functionally appropriate ecosystem types. We defined and mapped (at <1:3000) the ‘seashore’ as the land-sea interface between the dune scrub-thicket break and the back of the surf zone. The seashore is divided at the dune base into a landward ‘backshore’ and seaward ‘shore’, with the inherent dynamic variability included in the boundary delineation and constituent ecosystem types. Estuaries were also embedded into the map. Finally, we created rules for including adjacent terrestrial and marine ecosystem types in an ecologically determined coastal zone. We describe what tools this seashore integration and coastal delineation has unlocked, and how this places South Africa in a strong position to manage and conserve its coast.
Fishing catch is often used as a cost in marine conservation planning to avoid areas of high fishing activity when identifying potential marine reserve locations. However, the theory of marine reserves indicates that reserves are more likely to benefit fisheries in areas of heavy fishing activity that would otherwise be overfished. Whether or not fishing catch is calculated as a cost depends on the balance of conservation and fisheries goals for a reserve, and thus is critical for policymakers to consider when designing marine reserve networks. This research shows the utility of running an inverted cost model of fishery catches during marine reserve spatial prioritization as a first step in a marine planning process oriented towards stabilizing local fisheries. This technique serves as a heuristic tool that may help conservation planners explore regions that would otherwise be overlooked if fisheries data were absent or integrated purely as a cost in the planning process. Drawing on data from Madagascar to illustrate our approach, this research demonstrates that the regions most frequently selected using the inverted cost model not only meet conservation targets, but are also those most accessible to community-based resource managers, the dominant management paradigm in Madagascar as well as in many developing countries.
Spatial planning is an extremely powerful tool, which can be used for shaping the development of the largest spaces, including maritime space. In order to improve maritime management, the European Union decided to establish a framework in the form of a Directive to support planning processes in these areas. The result of the EU legislation will be land use plans, which will organize human activities in maritime areas in such a way as to meet environmental, economic and social objectives. The EU law applies to the Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and the North-East Atlantic. However, since the internal regulations of individual EU countries differ from one another, the Polish part of the Baltic Sea was selected as an example. The conducted considerations include an analysis of the legal provisions that are to lead to the preparation of the above-mentioned plans. The research material includes both the provisions of the international and of the national laws. For the evaluation of the maritime spatial planning system, which is based on the above-mentioned research material, the SWOT/TOWS analysis has been used. This technique has been aimed at determining the directions of development of maritime spatial planning in Poland based on the current conditions of the spatial planning procedure for these areas as well as the future phenomena related to the implemented procedure for creating maritime area land use plans. It has been pointed out that maritime spatial planning should be carried out using the strengths of the current procedure and the external opportunities that would increase the importance of Polish maritime areas.
Integrating stakeholder knowledge, views and needs in marine or maritime spatial planning (MSP) processes is important from a governance and social sustainabilityperspective both for MSP practitioners and for the evolving field of MSP research. Transboundary MSP appears particularly challenging for participation, which is why it is important to identify opportunities and address obstacles for stakeholder integration in this specific context. This article examines how stakeholder integration is currently practiced in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR), an enclosed sea where policy coherence and addressing conflicting interests across borders are especially relevant. It synthesises a range of challenges and enablers for stakeholder participation and mobilisation that have emerged from two transboundary MSP research and development projects, BaltSpace and Baltic SCOPE. The article finds that with the exception of statutory authorities, stakeholder engagement in the BSR is mostly limited to self-motivated stakeholders and consultation rather than more inclusive forms of participation. This can reduce the quality and legitimacy of MSP processes and risks to concentrate power in the hands of a small group of actors. For transboundary stakeholder integration to become more interactive and effective, five types of challenges need attention, regarding a) timing, b) governance systems, c) capacity and processes, d) stakeholder characteristics and e) knowledge and language. These obstacles can be addressed by (1) a dedicated research and development agenda that critically reflects on integrative tools and processes, and (2) by encouraging transnational institutions in the BSR to devote more resources to transboundary stakeholder integration and adopt flexible and adaptive strategiesand tools that can facilitate stakeholder involvement throughout the MSP policy cycle.