Over the past decade, marine/maritime spatial planning (MSP) has matured from a concept to a practical approach in advancing sustainable development and management of marine space . However, MSP still remains a relatively novel and complex process which involves various disciplines, procedures and engagement with multiple interests within differing governance arrangements and legal settings at different spatial scales in a dynamic system. MSP, therefore, requires marine planning practitioners and their institutions to be adequately equipped to address all of these and emerging challenges. Europe has invested in capacity building for MSP over the years with the adoption of the MSP Directive  being the main driver for implementation in some Member States alongside those where MSP had already been initiated. This paper provides an overview of experience, practical challenges, and lessons learnt from capacity building initiatives to do with education and training courses, establishing a national planning body, and cross-border projects, mainly from Europe. The paper broadly considers the skills, training and knowledge required for the MSP process. It stresses the importance of developing capacity at all levels, prioritising resources for capacity building and ensuring effective partnerships between the different actors and institutions. Finally, recommendations, potential next steps and priorities are suggested for furthering MSP capacity building.
Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP)
The assessment and mapping of ecosystem services (ES) has become an increasingly important instrument for environmental management and conservation priority-setting. As such, this practice can be used in ecosystem-based Marine Spatial Planning (MSP). MSP is recognized as an opportunity to achieve socio-economic and ecological goals simultaneously, to suggest solutions for sustainable management of marine environment and its resources. In this study, we propose an operational approach that includes novel spatial analysis in the marine field to quantify and map supporting ecosystem services. Such approach spans the 3D-dimension of the marine environment, considering all marine domains (sea surface, water column, seabed) separately. Our approach is focused on mapping supporting ES of the Adriatic Sea, to grant their preservation in order to guarantee the delivery of all other ES. Supporting ES provision in the Adriatic was quantified through the use of indicators that denote ES delivery and that are specifically related to the three marine domains. We identified areas of elevated provisioning levels of multiple supporting ES in the Adriatic, which is hypothesized to be priority areas of conservation. Our results confirm the importance of explicitly including the pelagic domain in planning and conservation processes. Areas that provide the lowest levels of supporting ES delivery were also mapped, to indicate possible ‘sacrificial areas’ for industrial or intensive use. The spatial coincidence of the determined hotspots areas of ES delivery associated with particular marine areas that are and are not under conservation regimes was analysed. This approach led us to test the applicability of the method for identifying marine areas for conservation purposes. Our methodological approach aims at producing relevant scientific knowledge for prioritizing marine conservation and sustainable management actions, to be used in MSP and marine management.
Marine resource management is shifting from optimizing single species yield to redefining sustainable fisheries within the context of managing ocean use and ecosystem health. In this introductory article to the theme set, “Plugging spatial ecology into ecosystem-based management (EBM)” we conduct an informal horizon scan with leaders in EBM research to identify three rapidly evolving areas that will be game changers in integrating spatial ecology into EBM. These are: (1) new data streams from fishers, genomics, and technological advances in remote sensing and bio-logging; (2) increased analytical power through “Big Data” and artificial intelligence; and (3) better integration of social dimensions into management. We address each of these areas by first imagining capacity in 20 years from now, and then highlighting emerging efforts to get us there, drawing on articles in this theme set, other scientific literature, and presentations/discussions from the symposium on “Linkages between spatial ecology and sustainable fisheries” held at the ICES Annual Science Conference in September 2017.
Over the last 20 years, marine/maritime spatial planning (MSP)1 has gained a strong political presence in Europe and elsewhere. Before 2006, only a hand- ful of countries had begun to spatially plan sea areas, such as China, where marine functional zoning was first proposed by government in 1998. In Europe, efforts began in 2002 as part of the EU-funded BaltCoast project involving Germany, Sweden, Estonia, Poland, Latvia, Denmark and Finland. Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands then became forerunners of MSP in Europe, approving integrated management plans for their waters in 2005. By 2017, the number of countries with MSP initiatives of some type had grown to about 60, the majority of which are in Europe but also some in Central America, Africa and Asia (Ehler 2017; Santos et al. 2019).2
The objective of this study is to analyse, from a legal point of view, the influence of the transposition of Marine Spatial Planning Directive into both Spanish and Portuguese domestic laws on the development of marine renewable energies in both countries. This article concludes that the Portuguese legal system is more favourable for the development of marine renewable energies than the Spanish legal regime, since the former establishes a more flexible planning system, sets criteria for the prioritisation of marine uses, incorporates trade-off mechanisms, introduces an electronic single-window system and regulates a pilot zone. These measures can help streamline licensing processes, avoid and resolve conflicts with other sea users, and adapt planning instruments to the rapid development of new marine renewable technologies. However, both legal regimes lack specific legal mechanisms aimed at offering effective protection of the marine environment against negative effects arising from the installation of such devices. Similarly, there is a lack of coordination between maritime spatial planning instruments and land planning instruments, and between the Central Government and the autonomous regions. This may hinder the installation of marine renewable energies. This study has implications in relation to the EU integrated marine policy aimed at achieving a balance between blue growth and the conservation of the marine environment, as well as an inter-administrative coordination improvement in decision-making.
The South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO) Convention includes specific provisions to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs). The SPRFMO Commission has determined that the interim measures put in place to protect VMEs should be replaced by an improved system of fishable and closed areas. We used the conservation planning tool Zonation to examine the utility of a decision-support tool to develop spatial management options that balance the protection of VMEs with utilisation of high value areas for fishing. Input data included: habitat suitability maps for VME indicator taxa, and uncertainties associated with these model predictions, for an area of the high seas around New Zealand; naturalness condition, represented by two proxy variables using New Zealand trawl effort data; and value to the New Zealand fishery using trawl catch data for two gear types and three time-periods. Running scenario analyses with these data allowed for an understanding of the effect of varying the input data on the spatial prioritisation of areas for VME conservation. The analyses also allowed for the cost to fishing to be determined, in terms of the amount of the trawl catch footprint (normalised to the catch) lost if high priority areas for VME indicator taxa are protected. In most scenarios, the cost to fishing was low given the relatively high proportion of suitable habitat for VME indicator taxa that could be protected. The main outcome of the present study is a demonstration of the practical utility of using available data, including modelled data, and the Zonation decision-support tool to develop future options for the spatial management of the SPRFMO area. Suggestions are also made for improvements in input data for future analyses.
We are currently in what might be termed a “third phase” of ocean enclosures around the world. This phase has involved an unprecedented intensity of map-making that supports an emerging regime of ocean governance where resources are geocoded, multiple and disparate marine uses are weighed against each other, spatial tradeoffs are made, and exclusive rights to spaces and resources are established. The discourse and practice of marine spatial planning inform the contours of this emerging regime. This paper examines the infrastructure of marine spatial planning via two ocean data portals recently created to support marine spatial planning on the East Coast of the United States. Applying theories of ontological politics, critical cartography, and a critical conceptualization of “care,” we examine portal performances in order to link their organization and imaging practices with the ideological and ontological work these infrastructures do, particularly in relation to environmental and human community actors. We further examine how ocean ontologies may be made durable through portal use and repetition, but also how such performances can “slip,” thereby creating openings for enacting marine spatial planning differently. Our analysis reveals how portal infrastructures assemble, edit, and visualize data, and how it matters to the success of particular performances of marine spatial planning.
Human use of marine and coastal areas is increasing worldwide, resulting in conflicts between different interests for marine space, overexploitation of marine resources, and environmental degradation. In this study we developed a methodology that combines assessments of marine environmental vulnerability and cumulative human pressures to support the processes of ecosystem-based adaptive maritime spatial planning. The methodology is built on the spatially explicit marine environmental vulnerability profile (EVP) that is an aggregated product of the distribution of essential nature values (habitat-forming benthic macroalgal and invertebrate species, benthic species richness, birds and seals as top marine predators) and their sensitivities to disturbances. The marine environmental cumulative risk profile (ERP) combines the EVP and the HELCOM Baltic Sea Pressure Index (BSPI), the latter representing the spatial distribution of intensities of cumulative anthropogenic pressures. The ERP identifies areas where environmental risks are the highest due to both long recoveries of the biota and high intensities of human pressures. This methodology can be used in any other sea areas by modifying the list of nature values, their sensitivity to disturbances, and the intensities of human pressure.
Sectoral management has long dominated the use of coastal zones in Taiwan. This approach addresses concerns faced by individual sectors. However, it fails to offer a holistic view to see the whole picture of interactions between various uses as well as a mechanism to engage in coordination among sectors and between levels of governments. In order to solve this failure, Taiwan's government stipulated a new dedicated law, the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), in 2015 to supplement existing sectoral management and promote sustainable development of coastal zones in an integrated way. This paper aims to examine Taiwan's coastal management framework with an emphasis on the CZMA. It specifically illustrates the practical application of the CZMA on offshore wind farms, which have recently gained momentum in Taiwan's pursuit of renewable energy. Finally, while the paper argues that the CZMA is conducive to an enhanced coastal management framework, it identifies areas deserving attention and proposed recommendations, including: encouraging public participation, employing living shoreline installations wherever appropriate, enhancing human resource capacity and conducting a complete survey of coastal resources so as to make an overall coastal spatial plan.
The European Atlas of the Seas is a web-based coastal and marine information system, originally aimed at the general public, but capable also of supporting non-specialist professionals in addressing environmental matters, human activities and management policies related to the sea. It is based on a combination of data (and metadata), which present a snapshot of both natural and socio-economic elements of coastal and marine regions in the European Union and its Outermost Regions. The first idea of a European Atlas of the Seas was set forward in 2007 with the launch of the Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union. Early work on the Atlas was conducted by the Directorate General for Maritime Affairs of the European Commission, while further development of system architecture, data collection, map services and descriptive text was assigned in 2013 to the Joint Research Centre, with the aim to offer new services and features, as well as the interaction with other available information tools. The present European Atlas of the Seas consists of background data layers designed to be displayed as map backdrop, as well as a number of thematic data layers, classified under 8 main categories: geography, nature, tourism, security and safety, people and employment, transport and energy, governance and European policies, fisheries and aquaculture. These can be used to compose customized maps, as user-defined ad hoc indicators, and to probe them with tools such as product-to-product correlations, or time series visualisation. Non-specialist professional users can use such analysis and interpretation capabilities to couple data into ecological and socio-economic indicators for a wide range of applications. The thematic map collection provided a common baseline that can be used by Member States of the European Union in getting started with the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive requirements. As this is seen as a pre-requisite for Blue Growth, the European Atlas of the Seas will help the sustainable use of marine ecosystem services and resources.