Jacqueline Tweddle, member of the Working Group for Marine Planning and Coastal Zone Management (WGMPCZM), along with group chairs Andrea Morf and Matt Gubbins
'Marine Spatial Planning is a process for deciding how best to use our marine space. For centuries, the sea has been free and open to everyone, but now there are more demands for different and exclusive uses as well as requirements to ensure we maintain a healthy marine environment. Marine spatial planning (sometimes referred to as marine or maritime planning or, when close to land, coastal zone management) is a process through which recommendations are made on the use of marine space, allocating space with the goal to balance environmental, societal and economic needs. This negotiation and decision making process is to be open and transparent, engaging with “stakeholders” affected by those decisions. The resulting plans usually consist of several parts: a section showing how the sea is used today and what issues need to be addressed, a general vision on the future use of the sea, and what uses to prioritise where.
Often there are gaps in our knowledge about what the optimum use of our marine spaces should be to achieve societal objectives and ensure sustainable uses of our seas. We are in an intensive phase of developing our knowledge and methods to understand the consequences of planning decisions. The ICES Working Group on Marine Planning and Coastal Zone Management is working on the development of knowledge and methods for this purpose - in close collaboration between science, society and policy makers across different disciplines and seas, from the Baltic over the Arctic and the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and beyond.'