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Marine Planning

01. What is Marine Spatial Planning?

Don't be intimidated by the phrase, Marine Spatial Planning (MSP)!  Read the Marine Spatial Planning brochure (La Planification Spatiale Marine) for a succinct description of MSP and its integrated planning at multiple scales.  MSP is related to integrated island management which pursues goals such as intact forest ecosystems, intact coastal ecosystems, tourism, coastal protection, fisheries and food security, water securilty and health and more.

02. Marine Spatial Planning Initiative

Marine Spatial Planning Initiative

The purpose of this initiative is to help countries implement ecosystem-based management by finding space for biodiversity conservation and sustainable economic development in marine areas. One way to do this is through marine spatial planning. Our work focusses on moving marine spatial planning beyond the conceptual level by

03a. Whole of Island Approach: Integrated Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment

03b. Integrated Land Sea Planning

03c. Ecosystem Based Adaptation (EbA) Project Choiseul, Solomon Islands

05. A Management and Adaptation Planning Guide for Natural Resource Managers

A Management and Adaptation Planning Guide for Natural Resource Managers. 2006. Pacific Islands Managed and Protected Areas Community (PIPMPAC) Document.

06. Marine Planning and Management News and Discussion (Open Channels, The Navigator, The Daily Catch, Marine Ecosystems and Management, World Ocean Observatory)

By subscribing to the services below you will be sent the latest news and publications on marine protected areas, oceans, planning, policy, science and so forth.  We urge you to subscribe to stay abreast of what is happening to the marine world and what can be done to protect the sea around us.

07. Marine Planning Videos

Each month this year, 2016, Green Fire is releasing one short video clip on marine planning from the Great Bear Seas film and other new material.

Below are links for downloading/viewing the mp4 file of the first video. Starting January 12, please feel free to post on your organization’s social media channels, websites and use in your work.  You are welcome to share with your communications staff – Green Fire will be sending out subsequent links the first week of the month. All clips are 2-3 minutes long.

09. Seventy-one Important Research Questions for Marine Conservation

Scientific research is something all of us were exposed to in school and something we hear routinely in the news.  In principle, science is supposed to interact with agencies and organizations entrusted with managing protected areas and other managed areas.  Science ultimately provides the information for management decisions and to understand ecological processes and patterns, even while identifying new issues not yet recognized by the public or protected area managers.  We have neither the expertise nor the funding to study everything that needs to be studied.  However, recently the Society for Conservation Biology’s Marine Section developed a list of 7

10. Underwater Mapping of Critical Areas Related to Biodiversity Conservation

Underwater Mapping of Critical Areas Related to Biodiversity Conservation

An 18 month sea-bed mapping project and hydrographic survey on a specified 13.5 square miles (or 35 square kilometres) area off the coast of Tortola in the Virgin Islands, was completed last month.

The project entailed the partnership of the National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands (NPT), the UK Hydrographic Office and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences (CEFAS).

11. Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas

Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas

The EBSAs are special areas in the ocean that serve important purposes, in one way or another, to support the healthy functioning of oceans and the many services that it provides.

12. Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas - Papers

13. Marine Species Listed as Endangered or Threatened by the U.S. Government

Under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) must list species as endangered or threatened regardless of where they are found. If a species occurs exclusively in foreign waters, NOAA refers to it as a "foreign species." To date, there are 42 listed foreign species under NMFS jurisdiction.

14. Marine Species Programme and Action Plans

Marine Species Action Plans

The Marine Species Programme of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) outlines a regional strategy for the cooperative conservation and management of dugongs, marine turtles, whales and dolphins. Other marine species of conservation concern will be added as the need arise. The strategy, which will be implemented through Action Plans during 2013–2017, will enable Pacific Islanders to take a primary role in achieving the following vision:

An Assessment of the Costs and Benefits of Mining Deepsea Minerals in the Pacific Island Region

An Assessment of the Costs and Benefits of Mining Deepsea Minerals in the Pacific Island Region: Deep-sea Mining Cost-Benefit Analysis

This report describes a preliminary economic (cost-benefit) analysis of deep-sea minerals (DSM) mining in the Pacific Island region. Since mining has yet to occur anywhere in the world, the analysis is based on realistic yet hypothetical mining scenarios developed for three mineral deposits thought to have a high potential for economic viability:

A Primer on Marine Protected Areas

A regulation-based classification system for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

A regulation-based classification system for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

Catchment Management and Coral Reef Conservation

Conservation standards: From rights to responsibilities

Conservation standards: From rights to responsibilities

Although conservation interventions aim to protect biological and cultural diversity, they can affect communities in a number of ways. The vast body of international law, norms and standards protecting human rights offers little rights-based, practical guidance for conservation initiatives. Focusing on indigenous peoples, this paper aims to provide a set of draft conservation standards that outline:

• how indigenous peoples’ rights are enshrined in international law

• how conservation interventions can infringe these rights

“Contribution of Marine Conservation Agreements to Biodiversity Protection, Fisheries Management and Sustainable Financing in Fiji.”

The report documents the degree and scale to which Marine Conservation Agreements (MCAs) are being used in coastal waters in Fiji. The study focuses on partnerships involving local communities and the tourism sector. The study documented tourism-related MCAs included an estimated 266.25 km2 (26,625 ha) of MPAs, of which 210 km2 (21,000 ha) comprised deep water and offshore reefs within two large no-take reserves (Namena Marine Reserve and Vatu-i-Ra Conservation Park), and the remaining 56.25 km2 (5,625 ha) comprised mostly shallow fringing reefs and slopes. The report highlights there are many more MPAs out there (especially informal ones), that are probably not being recognized or included in our national accounting and reporting.

Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean

Draft Precautionary Management of Deep Sea Mining Potential in Pacific Island Countries

Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) and Commercial Activities

Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) and Commercial Activities

Deep Sea Mining contract areas in ABNJ Purse seiner pollution observer incidents across region Regional fishing vessel density Purse seiner pollution observer incidents and purse seiner vessel density

Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) Special places in the world’s oceans (Western South Pacific)

First World Ocean Assessment - United Nations

First World Ocean Assessment

Global Environment Outlook - GEO - 6 Regional Assessment for Asia and the Pacific

Global Observing Systems Information Center (GOSIC) - NOAA

Good Coastal Management Practices in the Pacific: experience from the field

Identifying and mitigating potential impacts of seabed mining on whale, dolphins and other marine megafauna

IUCN Joint SSC/WCPA Task Force on Marine Mammal Protected Areas (MMPATF)

Large Scale Marine Protected Areas - Guidelines for design and management

IUCN-WCPA’s Best Practice Protected Area Guidelines are the world’s authoritative resource for protected area managers. Involving collaboration among specialist practitioners dedicated to supporting better implementation of ideas in the field, the Guidelines distil learning and advice drawn from across IUCN. Applied in the field, they build institutional and individual capacity to manage protected area systems effectively, equitably and sustainably, and to cope with the myriad of challenges faced in practice. The Guidelines also assist national governments, protected area agencies, non-governmental organisations, communities and private sector partners in meeting their commitments and goals, and especially the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Programme of Work on Protected Areas....

LMMA Network

The LMMA Network

The Locally-Managed Marine Area Network is a group of practitioners involved in various community-based marine conservation projects around the globe, primarily in the Indo-Pacific, who have joined together to learn how to improve our management efforts. We are interested in learning under what conditions using an LMMA strategy works, doesn’t work, and why.

The Network’s membership consists largely of conservation and resource management projects that are using (or planning on using) an LMMA approach, and includes:

Community members

Land-owning groups

Traditional leaders

Elected decision-makers

Conservation staff

University scientists and researchers


Making Protected Areas Relevant: A guide to integrating protected areas into wider landscapes, seascapes and sectoral plans and strategies

Managing Coasts with Natural Solutions

Managing Coasts with Natural Solutions

Guidelines for Measuring and Valuing the Coastal Protection Services of Mangroves and Coral Reefs

Manta Trust

Manta Trust

Our Vision

A sustainable future for the oceans where manta rays thrive in healthy, diverse marine ecosystems.

Our Mission

The Manta Trust takes a multidisciplinary approach to the worldwide conservation of manta rays and their habitat through robust science and research, while raising awareness and providing education to the general public and community stakeholders alike.

Mapping Governance Gaps on the High Seas

Marine Biodiversity Conservation in the South Pacific (MACBIO)

The objective of MACBIO is to improve management of the marine and coastal biodiversity of mountainous volcanic islands (Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu) and flat islands and atolls (Kiribati, Tonga).

Marine Protected Areas - Smart Investments in Ocean Health

Marine Protected Areas - Smart Investments in Ocean Health

MPAs - Investing in a Sustainable Blue Economy

Human lives depend on marine ecosystems that are healthy, resilient and productive. Marine protected areas (MPAs) are an essential tool in the recovery and protection of our ocean and the vital services it provides. 

Marine Spatial Planning in Washington

Memorandum of Understanding for the Conservation of Cetaceans and their Habitats in the Pacific Islands Region

Monitoring Fishing Boats in Large Marine Protected Areas with AIS

Ocean Health Index

Ocean Health Index


A healthy ocean sustainably delivers a range of benefits to people now and in the future. The Ocean Health Index is the comprehensive framework used to measure ocean health from global to local scales.

Ocean Health Index - Science

Ocean News - The Daily Catch

The Daily Catch

The Daily Catch aggregates current ocean news, stories and original reports.


Oceans and Law of the Sea

Ocean Unite

Ocean Unite

Definitive science and clear policy options point the way to what must be done to restore and protect marine life. But like many global challenges, the intelligence, science, policy knowledge and expertise is often fragmented and frequently does not reach the right ears.

Ocean Unite has been set up to assist with this unique challenge: to unite and amplify impactful voices to secure a healthy and vital ocean.

Pacific Islands Marine Portal

The Pacific Islands Marine Portal project is a collaborative project between the Pacific Islands Marine Resources Information System (PIMRIS) and the UNESCO IOC IODE Project Office (Oostende, Belgium)  to improve access to Pacific marine information for the Pacific Islands community.

Panorama: Sharer Your Protected Area Solutions

Perspectives on Marine Protected Areas

Different perspectives to best manage the Pacific Ocean in the interests of all who live there.

Hilborn, R. (2016). Marine biodiversity needs more than protection. Nature, 535(7611), 224-226.

Charles et al. (2016). Fishing livelihoods as key to marine protected areas: insights from the World Parks Congress. Aquatic Conservation. 26, S2. 165-184