Marine planning + ocean industries: WOC report on challenges + opportunities

The World Ocean Council (WOC) report on “Ocean Industries and Marine Planning” provides the first multi-sector, industry-oriented review and analysis of the value, challenges and opportunities of marine spatial planning (MSP) for the ocean business community.

Building on this work, the 4th WOC Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS), Rotterdam, 30 Nov-2 Dec 2016 - with its theme of “Ocean 2030: Sustainable Development Goals and the Ocean Business Community” - will address MSP and ocean industries through sessions on:

  • Marine Planning and International Waters: Shaping High Seas Sustainable Development Through Spatial Planning
  • Marine Planning and the North Sea: Multiple Ocean Use and Sustainable Development in a Heavily Used, Transboundary Sea Basin
  • Multi-use Offshore Infrastructure: Creating Synergies in Ocean Industry Facilities

As MSP grows around the world, WOC is working to ensure that both the ocean business community and MSP proponents understand and address the need, value and opportunity for industry to be informed of, and engaged in, MSP.

Based on several years’ work of active engagement with both ocean industries and those advancing MSP, the WOC report shows that there are a variety of perspectives on MSP - its definition, need, use, evolution and implementation - within the diverse ocean business community.

The WOC report describes the following values that MSP may provide to industry:

  • Identifying and developing data sources on marine ecosystems and their uses
  • Streamlining regulatory/permitting processes
  • Reducing user conflicts and associated litigation
  • Increasing the potential for a balanced management approach
  • Reducing investor uncertainty
  • More efficiently using public and private funds

The WOC’s work with ocean industries reveals that the private sector seeks clarity on:

  • The relationship between MSP and other governance processes and mechanisms
  • Regulatory and authority gaps and uncertainties
  • How MSP will function in multiple jurisdictions
  • How the MSP process will remain relevant and transparent

The WOC CEO, Paul Holthus, will present these important results on industry and MSP at the EU Maritime Spatial Planning Worldwide conference this week (Azores, 23-24 June, 2016).

Since 2010, WOC has conducted industry outreach on MSP, organized industry/MSP conferences and forums, and shared industry perspectives with marine planners. WOC gratefully acknowledges the support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in conducting the research and outreach that led to this report.

As the international, multi-industry leadership alliance on “Corporate Ocean Responsibility”, the WOC is facilitating industry participation in marine-related programs and projects of the EU and other government and inter-governmental bodies.

The WOC report on Ocean Industries and Marine Planning is available at:


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