Planning Process Overview
The ocean is a crowded place and getting busier by the day—there are dozens of competing traditional activities like commercial fishing, shipping, pipeline construction and recreation that now contend with important emerging uses such as renewable energy development, fish farms and marine conservation initiatives. The routine, sector-by-sector, or individual resource approach to ocean management is inadequate to handle the increasing demands on our ocean ecosystems.
A new approach, coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP), aims to distribute and accommodate both traditional and emerging ocean activities to produce sustainable economic and social benefits while minimizing spatial conflicts and environmental impacts. CMSP is an iterative process that uses the best available science along with stakeholder input to support integrated, adaptable, and forward-looking ocean management decision-making. SeaPlan has been actively engaged in marine spatial planning since 2007, mostly as The Massachusetts Ocean Partnership. We’ve assembled representative stakeholders, partnered with government and collaborated with teams of expert practitioners to advance this emergent process in support of MA ocean planning.
Our experience has taught us that, while CMSP is an enormously complex and ambitious undertaking, it is also –at a certain level– remarkably straightforward. The diagram below illustrates the relationship among key components of CMSP. The information, tools, processes and lessons learned in MA are at once uniqueto our political and geographic context and at the same time of value more broadly in northeast region and beyond.