Special Paper Session
Convener: Jo Smith
40th Annual Pacific Seabird Group Meeting
21-23 Feb 2013
Marine spatial planning (MSP) is a public process to analyse and allocate the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in a practical way, balancing the demands for development with protecting the marine environment. Marine spatial planning is usually specified through a political process to achieve multiple objectives and address ecological, economic and social values. Marine spatial planning is a well-described process that requires excellent spatial data sources for marine species, habitats and human activities. While the steps for MSP look great on paper, actual processes span years, if not decades, and a marine ornithologist’s exposure to the full process is rare. Participation by scientists in MSP may be infrequent or disconnected from the governing authority, yet the desire to collect and contribute relevant data remains strong.
In this special session, a series of speakers will provide a mini mock-up of the most of the steps usually undertaken in a marine spatial planning process to increase understanding of MSP and the role that seabird biologists can play in ensuring high quality data are used to inform decisions. Speakers will introduce the best practices methodology for marine spatial planning in relation to existing processes in Canada, USA, and other countries in the North Pacific Ocean. Scientists, managers, and experts will then use field and model-based studies to document baseline conditions for seabird populations and the marine habitats that support them, describe methodologies for resolving spatial conflicts, discuss uncertainty and gaps in data collection and sources, and finally, discuss indicator development for monitoring marine birds over time.