What a marine spatial plan contains

There is a wide variety of material that can be included in marine spatial plans. But as a minimum, such a plan would be expected to include:

  • A clear vision: including measurable goals of what the plan seeks to achieve
  • Spatial identification of the “ecological backbone” of the marine area: including ecologically important marine areas and connections between them such as areas of high biodiversity, fish nursery areas, shell-fish beds, important benthic habitats, important migratory routes for fish and marine mammals, important habitats for seabirds, seamounts, hydrothermal vents, salt marshes, sea grass beds, sponge gardens, horse mussel beds and mangrove forests. It could also include areas providing valuable ecosystem services such as estuaries and coastal wetlands.
  • Spatial identification of different uses and values attached to the area: including economic, cultural and social. This could include activities such as kaimoana gathering, fishing, shipping, mining, oil and gas, aquaculture and recreational boating.
  • Spatial identification of areas of conflict: such as those between catchment activities and ecologically important marine areas, between marine users and those areas, and between different marine users.
  • Spatial identification of areas of opportunity: such as places where activities support each other – such as marine conservation and tourism, or aquaculture and good catchment management.
  • Strategies and tools to address conflicts and maximise opportunities: including the spatial identification of marine (and associated catchment) areas to be managed for specific ecological purposes, and areas suitable for specific activities such as fishing, mining, oil and gas and aquaculture.
  • Opportunities for restoration: where the marine environment has been degraded in order to restore its productivity, diversity and resilience.
  • Targets to be achieved, monitoring and review: to make it clear what is expected to be achieved, to keep track of progress, and to review the effectiveness of the plan so it can be refined and improved.

Last updated at 2:11PM on February 25, 2015