Ocean Zoning: Making Marine Management More Effective

By Tundi Agardy. 2010, Earthscan. 208 pp. US $85 at www.earthscan.org

Although marine spatial planning has gained favor among marine and coastal planners in recent years, the related practice of ocean zoning has sometimes been pushed to the side. Often viewed as potentially too controversial for stakeholders – since it would involve setting aside some places as off-limits to certain activities – ocean zoning has been avoided by name, if not avoided altogether, in several MSP programs.

MEAM contributing editor Tundi Agardy embraces ocean zoning in this book. She views it as a potentially powerful tool for integrating marine management at the ecosystem scale, and advises managers and policy-makers to view marine spatial planning as the framework that makes comprehensive ocean zoning possible. “I would argue that MSP without subsequent (or parallel) ocean zoning of some type is incomplete management or, better put, is not taking advantage of the power of ocean zoning as a problem-solving tool,” writes Agardy. “Although the scenario development that much MSP entails allows us to look to the future and evaluate various management options, at some point ‘planning’ can divert energy and resources away from ‘doing’ – and zoning represents the doing to which MSP leads.” In fact, she says, without ocean zoning, MSP is little more than just a new name for the integrated coastal zone management programs that many countries have practiced for 20 years.

Her book provides several case studies of ocean zoning in practice, from Australia and New Zealand, to Europe, Africa, and North America. Writes Agardy, “Ocean zoning will undoubtedly gain in popularity as further tests of the concept emerge at various scales and as pressures on and conflicts in the sea increase.”

Marine Spatial Planning: Concepts, Current Practice and Linkages to Other Management Approaches

By Fanny Douvere. 2010, Ghent University, Belgium. 125 pp. A limited quantity of hard copies is available for free; e-mail fanny.douvere@mac.com

This book is the Ph.D. thesis that Douvere presented earlier this year to earn her doctorate in Political Sciences at the University of Ghent. Douvere (who now leads the World Heritage Marine Programme at UNESCO) and her frequent collaborator Bud Ehler have done more than perhaps anyone to advance the field of marine spatial planning in the past five years, traveling to dozens of workshops and conferences worldwide to present on the subject of MSP. (The guidebook they co-authored in 2009, Marine Spatial Planning: A Step-by-Step Approach toward Ecosystem-based Management, remains the definitive manual on MSP implementation – www.unesco-ioc-marinesp.be/msp_guide).

This new book by Douvere brings together articles she has previously published on the subject of MSP, with an introduction on the challenges facing the field. The text walks readers through the need for and evolution of MSP worldwide; key elements of its implementation; the importance of stakeholder participation in MSP; and the role of monitoring and evaluation. It also illustrates cases of MSP in practice in Europe, with a particular focus on Belgium, and describes the links between MSP and integrated coastal zone management. Douvere writes that she hopes the book will help raise standards for the further development of MSP and help nations to achieve “a truly integrated, ecosystem-based management of our ocean areas.”