The expanding use of ocean space and resources has led to conflict between user groups and economic, social and ecological objectives. In addition the broad array of government departments with oceans-related mandates and regulatory regimes complicates and impedes opportunities for investment and development within the oceans sector. A clear plan for the use of oceans space based on up-to-date geospatial and temporal information is required to guide decision making to avoid conflicts and provide users with the increased certainty and predictability they need to make appropriate investment decisions, and help conserve and restore natural ecosystems for future generations.
Marine planning will provide an opportunity for all coastal and ocean interests in a region to share information and coordinate activities. This will promote more efficient and effective decision-making and enhance regional economic, environmental, social, and cultural well-being. In turn, regional actions will support national objectives to grow the ocean economy, increase regulatory efficiency and consistency, and reduce adverse impacts to environmentally sensitive areas. Stakeholder engagement and public participation are essential to ensure that actions are based on a full understanding of the range of interests and interactions that occur in each region. Consultation with scientists, technical experts, the business community, and those with traditional knowledge is a foundation of marine planning.
Federal and provincial agencies are collaborating on mapping initiatives to compile ecological, social, cultural and economic data to ensure that a broad range of values are considered in ICOM. When we can see where and how we use the ocean we can work together to better avoid conflicts and build a better future.
In addition to broad scale marine planning, Coastal Management Areas will provide forums for addressing conflict at a localized scale, and MPA and LOMA network planning will contribute to an overall plan for coastal and ocean users.