Online consultation on MSP and integrated coastal zone management in Europe

The European Commission is gathering stakeholder feedback on the status and future of maritime spatial planning and integrated coastal zone management in Europe, including where EU action on these subjects would be most useful. The information, collected via online questionnaire, will be used as part of an impact assessment by the Commission and may inform the preparation of draft proposals on EU ocean governance.

The questionnaire "Possible ways forward for Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the EU" focuses on the main challenges and needs associated with implementing maritime spatial planning and integrated coastal zone management. The questionnaire is available until 20 May 2011 and is open to all. It is at

Report on MPA governance examines how to combine top-down, bottom-up approaches

A new report from UNEP explores the governance of marine protected areas, analyzing more than 20 case studies from around the world to determine how MPAs may be governed most effectively and equitably. Specifically, the report examines how best to balance three main approaches to MPA decision-making – top-down, bottom-up, and market-based approaches – in different MPA contexts.

A main focus of the study is how the three approaches utilize various types of incentives to steer people to behave in certain ways, namely in favor of biodiversity conservation. These include economic incentives, interpretative incentives (promoting awareness of an MPA and its policies), legal incentives (enforcement of laws), and more – in all, the report lists 40 distinct incentives. "This study suggests that it is the combination and inter-connection of different incentives from different categories that makes governance frameworks more resilient," write Peter Jones, Wanfei Qiu, and Elizabeth De Santo, the report's co-authors. The reportGoverning Marine Protected Areas: Getting the Balance Right is at

UK publishes guidance for regional marine planning

In March 2011, the UK Government published a marine policy statement that sets general principles to facilitate and support the formulation of regional marine plans covering all UK waters. The marine planning process, conducted under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, is intended to enable effective management of marine activities and more sustainable use of the nation's marine resources, creating a framework for consistent and evidence-based decision-making.

The marine policy statement provides the general environmental, social, and economic considerations that need to be considered in marine planning. It also provides guidance on the pressures and impacts that decision makers need to take into account when planning for, and permitting development in, the UK marine area. It is available at

EBM Bookshelf: The Ecosystem Approach to Marine Planning and Management

Edited by Sue Kidd, Andy Plater, and Chris Frid (Earthscan, 2011). 231 pp. Available for US $49.95 at

This book compiles the expertise of natural scientists, social scientists, and resource management practitioners on how to apply an ecosystem approach to oceans planning and management. Adopting a primarily European perspective, the book reviews the development of EU marine and maritime policy over the past 10 years, as well as UN guidance on adopting an ecosystem approach. It identifies challenges to implementation and offers lessons from the application of ecosystem approaches at sea and on land.

"This volume attempts to contribute to the wider body of literature in two ways," write the editors. "The first is through its transdisciplinary outlook, with each of the chapters reflecting the joint effort of [contributors] from different disciplinary backgrounds. This broad understanding is the key to delivery of the ecosystem approach. The second is through its European perspective."

The book draws upon a series of seminars in the UK between 2007 and 2009, funded by the country's Economic and Social Research Council and the Natural Environment Research Council.