Marine Spatial Planning:
The Future of Ocean Management

Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is an approach that uses spatial information about natural resources and human uses to develop a comprehensive ocean management plan.

ELEMENTS
BENEFITS

WHAT IS MARINE SPATIAL PLANNING?

Marine spatial planning (MSP) is a participatory process that spatially allocates human activities in the ocean to achieve ecological, economic, and social objectives. 

WHAT ARE THE OUTPUTS OF MARINE SPATIAL PLANNING?

Done right, MSP results in a legally-binding spatial plan that is designed to strategically manage future ocean use. MSP should include a comprehensive management plan that addresses implementation, enforcement, financing, monitoring, evaluation, and adaption. MSP legal frameworks and resulting plans guide the present and future use of marine space, including establishing a decision-making mechanism for permitting ocean uses. However, it is important to note that MSP is not a substitute for sector-based management.

WHY CONDUCT MARINE SPATIAL PLANNING?

Demand for marine resources often exceeds the capacity of marine ecosystems to absorb the impacts, leading to overfishing, habitat degradation, and pollution. These impacts in turn can lead to decline of ocean economies, including those related to fisheries and tourism, as well as loss of other non-monetary ecosystem services. Adopting an ecosystem-based approach through MSP can restore ecological integrity, improve ecosystem services, and advance sustainable blue economies. MSP specifically can benefit economic development by rebuilding and restoring renewable resources, reducing user conflict,

and creating regulatory certainty for ocean users.

WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MARINE SPATIAL PLANS AND MARINE

PROTECTED AREAS?

A key component of a marine spatial plan are marine protected areas which are used as a tool to safeguard marine resources, protection biodiversity, maximize fisheries production and recover marine resources. Marine protected areas limit human uses within an identified zone. The most effective marine protected areas are those that prohibit all extractive activities.

HOW ARE PROJECTS SET UP?

The Blue Prosperity Coalition has built upon the growing body of work and scholarship to create a pragmatic, phased approach in partnership with Governments and a team of experts for the development and implementation MSP.

While each program of work is tailored to the given needs of a place, we use the following roadmap:

Planning & Goal Setting

(Year 1)

a.  Sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Government that describes key objectives, including

     using MSP to designate at least 20-30% of the ocean as fully protected MPAs

b.  Form Blue Prosperity Coalition team, determine project governance and develop work plan

c.  Define goals, objectives, and time frame for MSP process

d.  Organize stakeholder participation

PHASE 1 – Assess Current & Future Conditions

(Year 1-2)

a.  Ecological and fisheries assessment and synthesis of existing data

b.  Mapping habitat and important ecological areas, existing and potential future human activities,

      including identify spatial conflicts, compatibilities, and trade-offs

c.   Assessment of legal framework related to ocean management

d.  Community consultation and surveys

e.  Evaluation of finance mechanisms

f.   Compliance and enforcement evaluation

PHASE 2 – Develop and Approve Marine Spatial Plan

(Year 2-3)

a.  Sketch and identify spatial management scenarios

b.  Develop marine spatial plan (spatial zoning map + management plan)

c.  Develop and pass MSP legislation and regulations, including adoption of marine spatial plan

d.  Solicit stakeholder feedback throughout process

PHASE 3 – Initiate Implementation

(Year 3-5)

a.  Build and strengthen implementation capacity

b.  Demarcate protected areas and other zones as needed

c.  Support compliance and enforcement (strategy development, training)

d.  Develop monitoring protocols for habitat, fisheries, socioeconomic assessments

e.  Support education and outreach

f.   Promote MSP and ocean protection at international stage

LONG-TERM – Monitor & Adapt the Marine Spatial Plan

(On-going)

a.  Monitor and evaluate MSP performance (i.e. habitat, fisheries, and socio-economic monitoring)

b.  Adapt Marine Spatial Plan as needed

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