Marine spatial planning (MSP) is an important aspect of the current European, UK and Scottish environmental agenda. The European Commission's recently published draft directive to create a common framework for MSP and integrated coastal management in EU waters and coastal areas is an indication that the sustainable management of marine and coastal waters is a pressing issue. The development of the Shetland Islands' Marine Spatial Plan (SMSP) was initiated by the Scottish Government in 2006 and is an example of a progressive regional marine spatial plan. The SMSP has successfully provided a policy framework and baseline spatial data to guide the placement of marine developments. Through policy, it provides suggestions, proposes directions and highlights opportunity for development. A model which maps cumulative pressures around the Shetland Islands, based on an ecosystem-based risk assessment and extensive knowledge of existing marine activities and uses, is the next step in identifying areas for action and marine policy formulation. This model may be used in comparable marine plan regions with access to comprehensive mapped activity data and local expertise to develop their own methodologies in addressing cumulative impacts. This research also aligns with the Marine Strategy Framework Directive which requires an analysis of the predominant pressures and impacts, including human activity, on the environmental status of marine waters which inter alia covers the main cumulative and synergetic effects.
Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP)
The Mediterranean Sea’s biodiversity and ecosystems face many threats due to anthropogenic pressures. Some of these include human population growth, coastal urbanization, accelerated human activities, and climate change. To enhance the formation of a science-based system of marine protected areas in the Mediterranean Sea, data on the spatial distribution of ecological features (abiotic variables, species, communities, habitats, and ecosystems) is required to inform conservation scientists and planners. However, the spatial data required is often lacking. In this review, we aimed to address the status of our knowledge for 3 major types of spatial information: bathymetry, classification of marine habitats, and species distributions. To exemplify the data gaps and approaches to bridge them, we examined case studies that systematically prioritize conservation in the Mediterranean Sea. We found that at present the data required for conservation planning is generally more readily available and of better quality for the European countries located in the Western Mediterranean Sea. Additionally, the Mediterranean Sea is lagging behind other marine regions where rigorous criteria for conservation planning has been applied in the past 20 yr. Therefore, we call upon scientists, governments, and international governmental and non-governmental organizations to harmonize current approaches in marine mapping and to develop a framework that is applicable throughout the Mediterranean region. Such coordination between stakeholders is urgently needed before more countries undertake further extensive habitat mapping, so that future conservation planning can use integrated spatial datasets.
The establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs) is an important component of conservation strategies for large marine vertebrates. Thus, quantitative evaluations are necessary to assess whether their habitats are protected by these areas. In this study, the representativeness of government-established MPAs and identified priority areas for conservation (PACs) relative to the Brazilian wintering habitat of humpback whales was assessed using satellite telemetry data (n = 74 individuals). Argos-derived location data were filtered and modeled using a switching state space model (SSSM) and overlaid on shapefiles for MPAs and PACs. Humpback whales occurred in only 18.31% of the 71 MPAs observed within the species range. A lower frequency of locations was recorder inside rather than outside these areas. MPAs of Integral Protection used by humpback whales correspond to only 0.64% of the species wintering habitat. In contrast, a total of 40% of the 55 PACs observed within the same area was occupied by the whales, with a higher frequency of locations documented inside the PACs. Our results suggest that PACs encompass the species habitat in a more representative manner than MPAs. Because the former do not provide legal protection, they do not effectively contribute to the species conservation. We suggest PACs used by the species, especially Abrolhos Bank PAC, can be used as basis to refine conservation efforts of humpback whales in their breeding grounds in light of increased anthropogenic stressors. We also demonstrate that animal movement data obtained from satellite telemetry studies are useful for assessing the representativeness of MPAs and to improve management of whales.
The Seychelles Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) Initiative is a public process focused on planning for, and management of, the sustainable and long-term use and health of the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), a marine area covering 1,374,000 km2 and 115 islands. The MSP Initiative is a government-led process, with planning and facilitation managed by a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, the Government of Seychelles, and the United Nations Development Programme - Global Environment Facility Programme Coordinating Unit. Funding for the Initiative is being provided by UNDP-GEF grants to the Government of Seychelles, and an Oceans 5 grant to The Nature Conservancy.
Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) provides a participatory and transparent way to focus on sustainable uses for the Seychelles marine environment and minimise spatial conflicts between uses. The Seychelles MSP Initiative takes an integrated, multi-sector approach and will balance ecological, social, cultural and economic objectives. The participatory nature of MSP encourages communities and private sector partners to provide advice, information and input to the Seychelles Initiative.
Article 38 of the Constitution of Seychelles provides the authority for planning and the guiding principles, vision and goals of the Seychelles Sustainable Development Strategy (SSDS) helps provide the framework for the MSP Initiative. The Initiative will develop an integrated, multi-use marine zoning and climate change adaptation plan to optimise the sustainable use and effective management of the Seychelles marine environment while ensuring and improving the social, cultural and economic wellbeing of its people. This marine plan will serve as the basis for guiding the strategies and decisions of the Seychelles Conservation & Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT) that was established by the Government of Seychelles for a Debt-for-Climate-Change-Adaptation swap. Phase I of the MSP Initiative (February 2014 – June 2015) will produce a suite of design options, tools and management strategies as a basis for further development and implementation of the national multi-use plan.
The Seychelles MSP Initiative was launched at a workshop on 4-5 February 2014 in Victoria. The key objectives of that workshop were to introduce the MSP Initiative being facilitated by The Nature Conservancy, and identify the key components that will support the Seychelles Blue Economy. People at the workshop identified seven sectors important to the scope of the planning process (in no particular order): biodiversity conservation, cultural heritage, fisheries, marine transportation, petroleum (mineral & aggregate) extraction, renewable energy, and tourism. Focusing on the seven sectors, participants were led through a 10-20 year visioning exercise to describe what they did and did not want to see for these sectors over this time scale. The results of the visioning exercise were refined into general goals by the workshop participants and ranked in order of low, medium, and high priority.
A website is currently being developed for the MSP Initiative (www.seychellesmarinespatialplanning.com) that will host all the relevant background documents, reports and presentations. The website will be used to keep all stakeholders updated on progress of the process and should be accessible by early July. In the interim, all related handouts and documents are included in the annex section.
This guide on performance monitoring and evaluation (evaluation) is intended for practitioners responsible for planning and managing marine areas. Practitioners are the managers and stakeholders who are responsible for designing, planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating marine management plans. While its focus is on the performance monitoring and evaluation of MSP, planners and managers should know how to incorporate monitoring and evaluation considerations into the MSP process from its very beginning, and not wait until a plan is completed before thinking about how to measure “success”. Effective performance monitoring and evaluation is only possible when management objectives and expected outcomes are written in a way that is measurable, either quantitatively or qualitatively.
This guide builds on the general approach and structure of the previous UNESCO’s IOC guide, Marine Spatial Planning: a step-by-step approach toward ecosystem-based management (Ehler & Douvere 2009) available at: www.unesco-ioc-marinesp.be. Similar in organization to the first MSP guide, this one presents a logical sequence of eight steps to monitoring and evaluating the performance of management plans (and their related management actions) that are important outputs of any MSP process.
View the online Interactive Compendium to the guide here on OpenChannels at https://www.openchannels.org/msp-eval-guide.
Coastal and ocean recreation provides significant economic and social benefits to coastal communities of the Mid-Atlantic, encompassing New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. It is important to understand how and where people use the coast and ocean as a first step towards better management of the natural resources integral to coastal and ocean recreation.
To address this need, and to inform regional ocean planning efforts for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (RPB), the Surfrider Foundation (Surfrider), in partnership with Point 97 (a company of Ecotrust), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and Monmouth University's Urban Coast Institute (Monmouth) (jointly, the Team), in collaboration with MARCO, engaged 'non-consumptive&' recreational users such as divers, surfers, kayakers, beach goers, and wildlife viewers to carry out the Mid-Atlantic Coastal and Ocean Recreation Study (Study) in 2013-2014.
The Team used a web-based survey to collect data from respondents on recreational use patterns, trip expenditures, and demographics. The survey included a series of questions and an easy-to-use interactive mapping tool. Respondents marked places on maps where they recreated over the last 12 months. The Team then analyzed the resulting spatial data to develop maps indicating intensity of use for 16 recreational activities in the region.
To promote participation in the Study, the Team engaged coastal and ocean recreational stakeholders and regional planning partners like MARCO to collaboratively develop the survey instrument, deploy targeted outreach strategies, and review the resulting spatial data on coastal and ocean recreation use patterns.
The Team implemented a variety of outreach strategies designed to promote stakeholder engagement in all phases of the Study. Outreach efforts targeted non-consumptive coastal and ocean users and leveraged the collaboration of a broad set of recreational businesses, groups, and associations, as well as environmental organizations in the region. The Team's outreach also incorporated information about the regional ocean planning process and opportunities for public engagement.
In total, Mid-Atlantic respondents completed nearly 1,500 surveys resulting in over 22,000 unique data points. The data show that coastal and ocean recreation encompasses a popular and diverse group of activities in the Mid-Atlantic, resulting in major economic and social benefits to coastal communities. The average respondent who visited the Mid-Atlantic coast spent an average of $71.06 per trip.
The Team, in coordination with other relevant recreational use studies in the region, has made the data and information from the Study available on the MARCO Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal (http://portal.midatlanticocean.org/portal) and to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body (http://www.boem.gov/Mid-Atlantic-Regional-Planning-Body), as it develops a Regional Ocean Action Plan for coastal and ocean uses in the Mid-Atlantic.
For the first time, regional scale maps showing coastal and ocean recreational use patterns are available to help planners and managers make better-informed decisions in consideration of maintaining and improving recreational uses and values. The Team expects this new baseline to serve as a credible first iteration, a foundation to be updated and improved as new information on coastal and ocean recreation becomes available.
Marine spatial planning (MSP) is a fast evolving discipline signified by the European Commission׳s proposed directive to create a common framework for MSP and integrated coastal management in EU waters and coastal areas. The Shetland Islands’ Marine Spatial Plan (SMSP) first developed in 2006 is one of the most advanced in the UK. With seven years’ experience of MSP and integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) in Shetland׳s waters, and the pending statutory implementation of the SMSP in 2014, Shetland represents an exemplar case study for the monitoring and evaluation of this discipline in practice. A review was carried out in 2012 to evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of the SMSP to date. This exercise highlighted achievements to date, future challenges and opportunities and helped to guide the development of the forthcoming edition of the SMSP. The sharing of knowledge and practical experiences of MSP and ICZM ensures an adaptive approach in addressing uncertainty over time. It is also imperative to understand that early ‘pioneers’ in this discipline may not get it exactly right on the first attempt but by developing initial precedents and processes, these can be built upon in the future.