Marine Spatial Planning
Marine spatial planning (MSP) is a practical way to create and establish a more rational organization of the use of marine space and the interactions between its uses, to balance demands for development with the need to protect marine ecosystems, and to achieve social and economic objectives in an open and planned way. MSP is a process that identifies when and where human activities can occur in marine spaces, however other measures are needed for managing the performance of human activities and the ecological aspects of the marine environment. MSP is an important tool to achieve ecosystem-based management, focused on marine, spatial, and planning aspects to meet multiple management objectives.
In the Atlantic Region
Marine spatial planning was conducted in the Gully, a large submarine canyon in the Western North Atlantic and a marine protected area under the Oceans Act since May of 2004. With a long history of conservation efforts the Gully MPA was created by DFO in support of integrated management, providing additional legal protection for important marine species and habitats. The management of the Gully MPA involves a number of activities and a range of interests including petroleum activity, scientific research, and vessel traffic. The Gully MPA Regulations designates the Gully as an MPA and outlines all management activities.Regulations prohibit the disturbance, damage, or removal of any living thing or habitat within the Gully. The management zones established in the Gully MPA are zone 1, zone 2, and zone 3 and correspond to varying levels of management based on conservation objectives and ecological vulnerabilities. The Gully Marine Protected Area Management Plan is available in pdf format from DFO.
Framework for Guidance
COINAtlantic and MSP
Marine spatial planning is aided by tools such as Sea Sketch, an interactive mapping tool supporting collaborative planning for oceans and a platform for collaborative ocean Geodesign. Sea Sketch is a GIS platform designed for marine spatial planners and ocean resource managers who need to work with partner agencies and stakeholders to make decisions about oceans resources. Users can generate hundreds to thousands of alternative proposals representing a range of perspectives and interests. Analytical feedback is provided for the proposals, as well as engagement of stakeholders for collaboration and discussions. Sea Sketch puts powerful tools in the hands of stakeholders that were once limited to GIS professionals.