Step 3: Identifying Marine Spatial Management Actions

How are management actions related to objectives?

Each objective should have at least one management action or set of management actions that will be used to achieve the objective.

Video: Charles Ehler on management actions

  • Management actions are the roadmap to achieving your specific objectives
  • Alternative management actions have different effects, costs and benefits
  • Indicators allow you to measure effectiveness of management actions and their costs and benefits

What is a management action?

Management actions are the heart of any management plan. They are the collective actions that will be implemented to achieve the management goals and objectives of the plan.

Management actions should be the focus of performance evaluation. Are the selected management actions the most effective way to achieve the desired management objectives? Are they the least cost- or most cost-effective way of achieving management objectives? And are they fair or equitable? Who pays and who benefits?

An integrated management plan for a marine area will have many management actions (not all spatial and temporal) that will be applied to the important sectors of human activities, e.g., fisheries, marine transport, offshore renewable energy, minerals extraction, and oil and gas that use the resources of the marine area.

Video: Eric Olsen on management actions in the Barents Sea

  • In the Barents Sea, increased shipping brought increased threats of collisions and oil spills
  • Through MSP, shipping was moved further offshore and two lanes of traffic were created
  • Another example is the oil industry’s need for access to new areas
  • Through MSP we needed to balance protection of environmentally valuable areas with socio-economic considerations
  • Scientists identified hotspots for protection and industry identified preferred drilling areas
  • The final decision was that coastal areas and the most ecologically valuable areas are off-limits to oil production, but exploration can continue in other offshore areas
  • The oil industry remains interested in exploring off-limits areas; this idea came up again during the plan review ion 2011
  • This continues to be a political issues, but for now current restrictions still apply

What are examples of different types of marine management actions?

Four categories of management actions are identified below:

1. Input Management Actions: Actions that specify the inputs to human activities, e.g.,

  • Limitations on fishing activity or capacity
  • Limitations on shipping vessel size or horsepower
  • Limitations on the amount of fertilizers and pesticides applied to agriculture lands

​2. Process Management Actions: Actions that specify the nature of the process of human activities, e.g.,

  • Specification of fishing gear type, mesh size
  • Specification of “Best Available Technology” or Best Environmental Practice”
  • Specification of level of waste treatment technology

3. Output Management Actions: Actions that specify the outputs of human activities, e.g.,

  • Limitations on the amount of pollutants discharged to marine environment
  • Limitations on allowable catch and by-catch
  • Tonnage limitation on sand and gravel extraction

4. Spatial & Temporal Management Actions: Actions that specify where and when types of human activities can occur, e.g.,

  • Specification of areas closed to fishing or energy development
  • Designation of areas for specific uses, e.g., wind farms, sand & gravel extraction, waste disposal
  • Designation of marine protected areas

Video: How NOAA and the US Coast Guard took the successful management action of moving Boston’s shipping lanes to protect endangered whales


Go back to Step 2: Identifying Measurable Objectives or continue reading Step 4: Identifying Indicators and Targets

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