Ship traffic in Northwestern European seas is intense and continuing to increase, posing a threat to vulnerable seabird species as a result of disturbance. However, information on species-specific effects of ship traffic on seabirds at sea is limited, and tools are needed to prioritize species and areas to support the integration of conservation needs in Marine Spatial Planning. In this study, we investigated the responses of 26 characteristic seabird species in the German North and Baltic Seas to experimental ship disturbance using large datasets collected as part of the seabirds at Sea counts. We developed a Disturbance Vulnerability Index (DVI) for ship traffic combining indicators for species’ shyness, escape costs, and compensatory potential, and analyzed the relationships among shyness, escape costs, and vulnerability. The DVI was calculated using the following eight indicators: escape distance, proportion of escaping birds, proportion of birds swimming prior to disturbance, wing loading, habitat use flexibility, biogeographic population size, adult survival rate, European threat and conservation status. Species-specific disturbance responses differed considerably, with common scoters (Melanitta nigra) and red-throated loons (Gavia stellata) showing the longest escape distances and highest proportions of escaping individuals. Red-throated loon, black guillemot (Cepphus grylle), Arctic loon (Gavia arctica), velvet scoter (Melanitta fusca), and red-breasted merganser (Mergus serrator) had the highest DVI values, and gulls and terns had the lowest. Contrary to theoretical considerations, shyness correlated positively with escape costs, with the shyest species also being the most vulnerable among the species studied. The strong reactions of several species to disturbance by ships suggest the need for areas with little or no disturbance in some marine protected areas, to act as a refuge for vulnerable species. This DVI can be used in combination with distribution data to identify the areas most vulnerable to disturbance.
Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP)
The implementation of maritime/marine spatial planning (MSP) strategies and management actions is often sought out by means of holistic, sustainability seeking processes, recognizing the connectivity and interdependences of all ecosystem elements, including humans. In this context, overall sustainability is reached when social, environmental and economic sustainability are equally considered. However, the integration of social aspects and views, alongside other, non-political, elements of the social dimension, has been found to lack well-rounded consideration in processes supporting decision-making. One identified problem is the absence of an existing framework that defines social variables and dimension components in ocean management approaches. This paper assesses the social context important to build such a definition within MSP. Based on existing literature and social sciences research it provides an outline for the concept of a social dimension in MSP and suggests definitions to further discussion and aid in the development of socially integrative guidelines. Recommendations are provided to support necessary future research and enhance social justice and inclusion within existing planning processes. This is important to avoid and mitigate negative implications at social levels and to motivate the development of a new approach to ocean sustainability and integration of all planning dimensions.
As one of the first countries to implement marine spatial planning, known in China as marine functional zoning (MFZ), China has developed MFZ into an integral part in its territorial spatial planning. Today, MFZ has become an important basis for the development, regulation and integrated management of marine space as well as an important tool for the management of its sea area, the protection of the marine environment, and development of its marine economy. This paper reviews China's MFZ system from a perspective of institutions, technologies and management requirements, and studies the resultant effects of MFZ in applications for sea-use projects, marine environmental monitoring and marine ecosystem protection by means of quantitative and comparative analysis. It is concluded that China's MFZ promotes the rational allocation of marine resources and the coordination of marine spaces for social and economic development based on its important role in sea-use project approval, marine environmental monitoring, and marine environmental protection. After three generations of evolution, it has formed a relatively mature classification system, technical system and institutional arrangement for China's MFZ with targets specified at three administrative levels and management requirements defined for different marine functional zones, which in turn facilitate the implementation of MFZ. China now is aiming to build the next generation of MFZ into a land and sea integrated zoning plan guided by the principles of ecosystem-based management. The well-established institutional arrangement and technical systems of MFZ, and the experiences accumulated in practice are available for reference by other countries.
The inherent complexity of planning at sea, called maritime spatial planning (MSP), requires a planning approach where science (data and evidence) and stakeholders (their engagement and involvement) are integrated throughout the planning process. An increasing number of innovative planning support systems (PSS) in terrestrial planning incorporate scientific models and data into multi-player digital game platforms with an element of role-play. However, maritime PSS are still early in their innovation curve, and the use and usefulness of existing tools still needs to be demonstrated. Therefore, the authors investigate the serious game, MSP Challenge 2050, for its potential use as an innovative maritime PSS and present the results of three case studies on participant learning in sessions of game events held in Newfoundland, Venice, and Copenhagen. This paper focusses on the added values of MSP Challenge 2050, specifically at the individual, group, and outcome levels, through the promotion of the knowledge co-creation cycle. During the three game events, data was collected through participant surveys. Additionally, participants of the Newfoundland event were audiovisually recorded to perform an interaction analysis. Results from survey answers and the interaction analysis provide evidence that MSP Challenge 2050 succeeds at the promotion of group and individual learning by translating complex information to players and creating a forum wherein participants can share their thoughts and perspectives all the while (co-) creating new types of knowledge. Overall, MSP Challenge and serious games in general represent promising tools that can be used to facilitate the MSP process.
The MSP Challenge uses game technology and role-play to support communication and learning for Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning. Since 2011, a role-playing game, a board game and a digital interactive simulation platform have been developed. The MSP Challenge editions have been used in workshops, conferences, education, as well as for real life stakeholder engagement. The authors give an overview of the development of the MSP Challenge and reflect on the value of the approach as an engaging and ‘fun’ tool for building mutual understanding and communicating MSP.
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.
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.