Oceans and Coasts

Planning for Ocean Use and Conservation

People and marine life depend on the same ocean spaces for different reasons.

A diverse group of people and marine life depend on the same ocean spaces for very different reasons: Energy development, aquaculture pens, commercial fishing, diverse recreational uses and shipping lanes are all competing for space in our oceans. Whales, sea turtles, sea birds, fish and the habitats they need for survival also require places in this increasingly crowded marine environment. 

Coordination in a Crowded Ocean

In order to meet current and future demands on our oceans, we need to take a comprehensive look at an entire ocean area and take into consideration the many stakeholders who use it and the complex diversity of life that depends on it. A coordinated approach and thoughtful planning can minimize conflicts, maximize the way we use our oceans and maintain healthy marine habitats.

Marine spatial planning (MSP) is a decision-making process that creates a blueprint for ocean use and conservation by:

  • bringing together diverse oceans users
  • creating a comprehensive picture of the ocean
  • providing a forum for proactive discussion and informed decision-making
  • providing a coordinated way to allocate marine spaces to simultaneously achieve ecological, economic and social goals
  • increasing transparency and accountability by giving all ocean users a seat at the table and common access to tools and information
Marine Spatial Planning and Conservation

Science-based planning is at the core of marine conservation at The Nature Conservancy. We use assessments, data, maps and other tools to work with partners and develop conservation plans for marine areas that meet the needs of both people and nature. We are supporting MSP efforts by sharing our in-the-water experiences and tools among a diversity of users.


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