ICES Annual Science Conference 2015

Theme Session O

Marine spatial planning and fisheries: A stock-take on approaches, examples, and future needs

Erik Olsen (Norway)
Vanessa Stelzenmüller (Germany)

​​​​​Contact conveners​​​

Marine spatial planning (MSP) is central to the implementation of an integrated management of multiple human activities at sea, their combined impacts on marine ecosystems, and the services they provide. MSP is regarded as a means to solve inter-sectorial and cross-border conflicts over maritime space as it allows for management of human activities across various temporal and spatial scales in the marine environment. The EU MSP directive encourages blue growth and provides the scope to synchronize international with national priorities for the sustainable use of the marine environment. At the same time, the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requires EU Member States to achieve "good environmental status". Indirectly, the MSFD suggests MSP via spatial distribution controls of activities while the upcoming MSP directive makes provisions to support, inter alia, the MSFD via MSP by demanding an ecosystem-based approach.

While the concept of MSP is increasingly implemented worldwide, key issues, such as the participation of the fisheries sector in MSP processes and the integration of fisheries requirements in spatial planning, remain very challenging in practice. For instance, while focussing on fisheries priority areas is of great importance in MSP, it is equally important to consider explicitly ecological components and important fish habitats that serve as the foundation for viable fisheries in the first place. Thus, divergent economic growth and conservation perspectives frequently hamper the implementation of balanced cross-sector management approaches, policy oriented research is confronted with huge challenges, and significant changes in science priorities are required to provide the science base needed to underpin cross-sector management.

This session is looking for approaches and examples that allow evaluation of the potentials and limits for the integration of fisheries in MSP, as well as future requirements with regard to e.g. governance frameworks, data, and tools. ​

Papers are welcome on the following topics:

  • Productive and essential areas for fisheries and their consideration in MSP
  • Empirical evidence and examples for an integrated approach to MSP
  • The use of ecosystem goods and services to assess spatial planning with fisheries
  • Operational modelling frameworks to conduct cost-benefit analysis of spatial planning scenarios for fisheries segments
  • General links between MSFD requirements and MSP


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​Photo: Morten Jerichau.

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Theme Session O

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