Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) provides a strategic, forward-looking planning framework for regulating, managing and protecting the marine environment including the allocation of space and resources to address multiple, cumulative, and potentially conflicting uses of the sea. Decision making around ocean energy sighting and minerals extraction is perceived as a threat by the fishing community. The MSP process needs to make sure that information, engagement and participation on such issues is informed and inclusive. However the MSP process needs to go beyond these issues to be truly effective with fishery stakeholders. Given the dynamic nature of the marine environment, spatial planning strategies need to provide a platform for decision making that recognizes the broad range of ocean activity and can evolve as a framework for ecosystem-based planning, data collection, scientific research, and shared-use recommendations for coordinated ocean management. It is suggested that many of these key components are already embedded in fisheries management. Spatial planning is well established as a fisheries management tool with closed areas in both Federal and State waters protecting spawning beds, and ecologically and biologically sensitive areas. The establishment of ‘Groundfish Sectors’ through Amendment 16 in New England has resulted in a number of sectors being geographically focused on certain fishing areas. Emerging work on the mapping of species distribution with oceanographic data to assist bycatch avoidance could add greatly to the MSP process. These fishery management efforts add to our understanding of the marine dynamics at work and importance of integrating fishery management planning and practices to MSP. If we are to pursue a truly ecosystem based management approach to our oceans, then fisheries management needs to be part of an integrated model that includes all relevant stakeholders.
See more of: Land and Oceans
See more of: Symposia