Over the past 15 years, Maritime/Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) has gained considerable importance all around the world. Various countries/territories have started to use MSP to achieve a sustainable use of their marine space, including the goal of developing a “Blue Economy”, and biodiversity conservation in ocean and coastal areas. About 100 countries/territories now have MSP initiatives, ranging from early stages (new authority and funding arrangements) to plan revisions and adaptation.
Initially, the concept of MSP – and one of its primary tools, ocean zoning – was stimulated by international and national government and non-governmental interests in developing marine protected areas. More recent attention has been placed on planning and managing multiple uses of marine space, particularly in areas where use conflicts are already well known and specified. In different places, MSP concepts are being used as a first step to make ecosystem-based management a reality.
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