For ocean planning and management processes to be effective – and cost-effective – in the long term, they benefit greatly from the support of their stakeholders. Without such backing, a marine protected area or marine spatial plan may find that users disregard the goals and regulations they don't support. Compliance can go down and enforcement costs go up - neither result ideal. Building a base of support, whether from specific stakeholder groups or the community at large, requires practitioners to be able to communicate effectively with their audiences. This involves not only what the practitioners say but how they say it, and how they engage the community in dialogue.
The following items provide a primer on how practitioners can engage their audiences effectively, what tools are most useful, and what the marine sector can learn from the field of marketing.