Scotland's National Marine Plan (NMP) consists of various objectives and policies which aim to support sustainable development within the marine environment while upholding the integrity of the ecosystem through the adoption of an ‘ecosystem approach to planning’. While this approach is not new, momentum has been gaining in research for accounting for the relationships between physical, chemical, and biological elements, functions, and processes of an ecosystem in marine spatial planning. Given that the NMP is under statutory review in 2017–2018 following three years since its publication, the outputs of this paper aim to inform the review by exploring how national and sectoral objectives and policies address ecosystem service sections and phases by using the UK National Ecosystem Assessment classification system as a reference. The analysis demonstrates that cultural benefits are the most accounted for, while the cultural final services which underpin such benefits are the least accounted for. Furthermore, there are no national objectives or policies which account for provisioning final services. The paper provides 12 distinct policy recommendations to enhance the uniformity of ecosystem services in the NMP.
Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP)
Maritime spatial planning (MSP) is a complex endeavour that faces multiple integration challenges: different forms of knowledge, various stakeholders, policies and sectors need to be taken into account as well as different scales, national borders and the interface of land and sea. MSP already integrates different views such as ecological and jurisdictional. However, there is room for improvement in integrating economic, social and cultural perspectives. Tools to analyse the economic effects of planning decisions are, admittedly, rare. To close this gap, the Spatial Economic Benefit Analysis (SEBA) tool has been developed. The method identifies and maps the spatial distribution of benefits associated with certain maritime uses. Given that statistical data on maritime sectors is not available at the necessary level of detail, the SEBA tool takes a rather unconventional approach. Instead of directly assessing monetary benefits, it identifies beneficiaries and analyses their geographical distribution. In this way, the tool enables MSP practitioners to respond to current and future integration challenges. For the sectors of shipping and offshore wind energy, the tool has been tested on the case of the German Baltic Sea region. The case study reveals strengths and weaknesses in applying the SEBA method in general, as well as with regard to the various integration challenges in MSP.
Although a necessary approach in many cases, implementing Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) reveals discrepancies between theory and practice. These discrepancies include the major importance given to technical issues along with the role and meaning ascribed to the “spatial” dimension at the expense of the “strategic” one. This gives rise to questions especially from the point of view of fisheries that invite to develop a more in-depth critical analysis of MSP. Far from considering the technical and political dimensions in opposition, the goal is to find out whether the reasoning used can be turned around, or in other words, whether the potential of a mapping instrument can be used to give greater importance and more visibility to strategic questions in MSP processes. Our reflection is based on methods used to map fisheries. It is also enhanced by notions such as empowerment and asserting the value of non-scientific knowledge in-situ. To test the strengths and shortcomings of this idea, it was applied in the context of an ongoing 2010 experiment between scientists (geographers and statisticians), fishers and fishers' representatives in metropolitan France. They have been working together for several years and have gradually expanded their scope to now include almost three-quarters of French metropolitan fleets (around 3250 vessels). This experiment shows that fishers and their representatives are not only able to generate spatial data using robust methods (almost 6000 surveys have already been conducted), but more importantly that they are also able to draw on this knowledge and participate in debates in a more effective manner, taking on the role of “real actors”. This has enabled a more political alternative to take shape, full of promise and giving rise to new questions.
Internationally, marine spatial planning (MSP) is an integral part of the decision-making protocol for setting up activities in the marine zone, be it the establishment of industries, exploration and mining for oil and minerals, deciding of surface transport, ensuring national security, exploitation of living and non-living resources, or conservation and management of resources and ecosystems. Satellite-based technologies like remote sensing and geographic information system are two powerful tools that provide a common platform to present information on different activities from the marine zone. This would enable the planners and policymakers to interpret the interaction between various factors and derive judicious decisions on the allocation of space and resources to different segments or activities in marine zone. This article reviews how MSP is being used as a decisionsupport tool in various countries for the peaceful coexistence of different stakeholders in the marine zone. It also discusses initiatives in India along with a reminder on the responsibility of the country as a signatory of international organizations to give importance on developing MSP for the conservation of resources as well as marine ecosystems.
Fisheries management interventions that protect certain species by redistributing fishing effort may generate unintended consequences for other species. In the California drift gillnet fishery for swordfish and sharks, a large spatial closure was implemented in 2001 to protect endangered leatherback turtles, which limited fishing effort to the Southern California Bight. Leatherback bycatch has since decreased, but the effects on other species have not been comprehensively examined. Here, we explore the effects of this closure on the community catch composition in the fishery and find that other protected species may have benefited, while catch per unit effort of major target species increased or was not significantly affected over the long term. However, a time-series analysis reveals that changes in catch trends across twenty species began at least five years before the closure was implemented, suggesting that previous regulatory measures or other drivers may also contribute to these trends. These results highlight the importance of comprehensive approaches that include the historical context when evaluating management outcomes.
Demand for renewable energy is increasing steadily and regulated by national and international policies. Offshore wind energy sector has been clearly the fastest in its development among other options, and development of new wind farms requires large ocean space. Therefore, there is a need of efficient spatial planning process, including the site selection constrained by technical (wind resource, coastal distance, seafloor) and environmental (impacts) factors and competence of uses. We present a novel approach, using Bayesian Belief Networks (BBN), for an integrated spatially explicit site feasibility identification for offshore wind farms. Our objectives are to: (i) develop a spatially explicit model that integrates the technical, economic, environmental and social dimensions; (ii) operationalize the BBN model; (iii) implement the model at local (Basque Country) and regional (North East Atlantic and Western Mediterranean), and (iv) develop and analyse future scenarios for wind farm installation in a local case study. Results demonstrated a total of 1% (23 km2) of moderate feasibility areas in local scaled analysis, compared to 4% of (21,600 km2) very high, and 5% (30,000 km2) of high feasibility in larger scale analysis. The main challenges were data availability and discretization when trying to expand the model from local to regional level. The use of BBN models to determine the feasibility of offshore wind farm areas has been demonstrated adequate and possible, both at local and regional scales, allowing managers to take management decisions regarding marine spatial planning when including different activities, environmental problems and technological constraints.
The European Union has a legally-binding framework for the establishment of maritime spatial plans in the sea areas covered by the exclusive economic zones of its Member States by 2021. The European Commission is supporting EU Member States in their planning efforts with concrete tools and financing. The European Union is well positioned to use its experience and expertise in promoting international and transboundary maritime spatial planning to help address global and regional governance gaps and challenges in ocean management, thereby contributing to improved international ocean governance. In this paper, the European Commission's Bernhard Friess and Marie Grémaud-Colombier explain the EU's legal framework for maritime spatial planning, and elaborate on how the Commission supports EU Member States in the preparation of their maritime spatial plans and the establishment of lasting mechanisms for cross-border cooperation. They set out how the EU's MSP experience led to intensification of its work on international MSP, including with the adoption of the joint DG MARE – IOC-UNESCO Roadmap on International MSP which sets out a clear forward looking and global perspective towards implementing the Agenda 2030.
An inventory of the marine fish fauna in the extreme northeast of South America was performed, as well as biomass estimates, species richness and environmental variables were collected. Techniques of spatial statistics were used to identify biomass trends and species richness. The main objectives were to generate new information about the specific composition of the fish fauna, allowing the identification of the spatial and temporal distribution of fishing resources, as well as the influence of environmental variables on habitat use, generating information that contributes to establishing measures of management and conservation of the fishing resources of the region. Bottom trawls were conducted on the northern coast of the continental shelf of Rio Grande do Norte (Northeast of Brazil), between May 2002 and November 2004. A total of 20,895 fishes (806.5 kg) distributed within 153 species, 108 genera and 57 families were caught. The number of species identified by trawls ranged from 1 to 46. For species richness, the season of the year, depth, latitude, longitude and distance from the coast were statistically significant. Fish biomass presented values between 0.76 and 6,132 g/km, with highest values occurring between depths of 45 and 65 m during the rainy season, while in dry period higher biomass was found in depths from 35 to 75 m. According to the GLM, season of the year and depth influence the distribution of biomass. Thus, in general terms both models indicated that environmental variables directly influence the occurrence and distribution of the ichthyofauna of the continental shelf of Rio Grande do Norte and therefore should be prioritized in establishing measures for conservation and management of these important resources.
The production of marine habitat maps typically relies on the use of habitat classification schemes (HCSs). The choice of which HCS to use for a mapping study is often related to familiarity, established practice, and national desires. Despite a superficial similarity, HCSs differ greatly across six key properties, namely, purpose, environmental and ecological scope, spatial scale, thematic resolution, structure, and compatibility with mapping techniques. These properties impart specific strengths and weaknesses for each HCS, which are subsequently transferred to the habitat maps applying these schemes. This review has examined seven HCSs (that are commonly used and widely adopted for national and international mapping programmes), over the six properties, to understand their influence on marine habitat mapping. In addition, variation in how mappers interpret and apply HCSs introduces additional uncertainties and biases into the final maps. Recommendations are provided for improving HCSs for marine habitat mapping as well as for enhancing the working practices of mappers using habitat classification. It is hoped that implementation of these recommendations will lead to greater certainty and usage within mapping studies and more consistency between studies and adjoining maps.
The territorial waters and the EEZ of the Netherlands form a part of the southern North Sea. The area is intensely used and for several of these uses considerable growth is forecast. For years, industrial freedom and market forces prevailed during discussions on marine spatial planning in the Netherlands. But in 2005 it became clear that this might lead to increasing conflicts with the environment and between users. The introduction of a new spatial planning framework was in response to an increasing interest in new developments and a growing demand for governmental coordination of these developments. During the years after, societal demands changed rapidly, especially with regard to renewable energy and demand for sand to strengthen the coast. At a regular interval of 6 years, revised Marine Spatial Plans have been developed which are adapted to the new knowledge and experience acquired and the new societal demands. Each cycle has a strong stakeholder involvement, both informal and formal.