Tuesday, June 25 • 16:45 - 18:15
Critical turn in Marine Spatial Planning - whence and whither? (2)

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Chaired by: Flannery, W., Toonen, H., Jay, S., Vince, J.

Panel Introduction
Critical turn in Marine Spatial Planning - whence and whither? (2)
Wesley Flannery, Hilde Toonen, Stephen Jay and Joanna Vince

While area-based approaches to marine management have a long history, Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) has risen to become the dominant marine management paradigm. Over the last 10 years, MSP has been championed as a solution to a plethora of marine issues. MSP is promoted as: a process for implementing ecosystem-based management in the marine environment; a mechanism for reducing user conflict; as a means of enhancing environmental protection; and a process for facilitating the expansion of maritime economies. While MSP has become a popular subject of academic scrutiny, there is a dearth of theoretically-informed, social science MSP papers. This has resulted in calls for a critical turn in MSP scholarship. In response to this, a Thematic Series was developed for Maritime Studies. This session is comprised of papers accepted for the Thematic Series and provides a wide range of theoretically-informed reflections on MSP. The papers cover, amongst other things, knowledge production, the socio-spatial construction of the marine environment; social justice; the contested nature of the marine problem and evaluates emerging MSP practices in both the Global North and the Global South. The session, therefore, provides a comprehensive overview of critical thinking within MSP, and will lead to debate and discussion within each panel.

1.  Government or governance for future oceans?
Lisa Campbell, Noëlle Boucquey, Luke Fairbanks, Kevin St. Martin & Sarah Wise
We apply theories of environmental governance to critically reflect on ocean planning in federal waters of the USA. Although others have written about the post-political orientation of MPS, we are interested in its post-governmental orientation and the US case is illustrative. MSP was initiated in July 2010 when President Obama issued Executive Order 13547; this set in motion what was then called coastal and marine spatial planning, but without a legislative mandate or congressional appropriation. There are many reasons we might expect MSP to be a federal government led initiative, including: the vast expanse of water under federal authority exercised via numerous federal agencies, ; the public trust doctrine that mandates federal management of oceans for the public good; and federal interests in oceans as critical to trade and national defense. Despite the federal government’s ‘stakes’ in MSP, the MSP project in the USA is transpiring in a neoliberal era in which there is little enthusiasm for large government-led initiatives. Thus, the project has been one of governance, with federal and state agencies participating as one of many stakeholders in ‘voluntary’ initiatives. What does a planning process of this scope and geographic extent look like as a project of environmental governance? We apply governance themes of actors, knowledge, and scale to show how US MSP is both illustrative of and contributes to our understanding of contemporary environmental governance. We have argued elsewhere that MSP in the USA has the potential to deliver alternative outcomes to marginalization of communities and enclosure of environments for capital accumulation, but this potential is fragile. In an era of unstable government when Executive Orders can be given out and revoked at the whim of the White House, questions about who/how MSP is carried in real space/time become even more important.

2. The role of knowledge in marine spatial planning: the case of fisheries
 Brice Trouillet & Alicia Said

In MSP, the production of knowledge is fundamental as it informs the process of how boundaries for the spatial uses are created and maintained. This paper considers knowledge, developed during the mapping and planning processes, not as a base but rather as a stake at the core of planning, because knowledge is an assemblage of different kinds of knowledges evolving from different streams of power. Using the case of fisheries-generated knowledge, we contend that the fisheries data that informs the MSP process is still very much streamlined to the classical bioeconomic metrics. Such metrics fall short of describing the multiple and complex knowledges that comprise fisheries, such as social and cultural typologies, as well as the scale and dynamics, hence providing incomplete information for the decision-making process of MSP. Typical cases include the socio-cultural elements of small-scale fisheries, the importance of which remain subjugated by the more dominant biological and economic datasets. In this paper we provide a way forward by proposing a model that envisages the bringing together of the existing datasets and proposes the integration of social and cultural elements, as well as incorporating the more complex spatio-temporal elements, to create dynamic rather than static datasets for MSP. Furthermore, we argue that the process of knowledge production and the building of the parameters of such datasets, should be based on effective stakeholder participation, predominantly fishers, whose futures depend on the plans that eventually result from MSP. Finally, we recommend that this model is adopted to inform the process of knowledge production currently being undertaken in the diverse countries engaging in the MSP process, such that the policies that accrue from the process are reflective of the complexities that characterise fisheries, and are legitimized through a process of knowledge co-production.

3.Deus ex machina’ into the sea: the geographical assemblage of MSP
Romain Legé & Yannick Leroy

Supported by the blue growth theory of the neoliberal machine, Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) has suddenly become the nearly exclusive way of looking at marine planning and management. MSP is much more than a rational tool organizing the use of marine spaces: it is a geographical assemblage linking three parts of a whole, i.e. “Planning”, “Spatial” and “Marine”. First, “Planning” is the political framework in which governmentality is exercised (e.g. imposing its agenda in post-political processes). Second, “Spatial” is a particular metrology of space which associates data and tools to think and structure space (e.g. using GIS or Marxan software). Third, “Marine” is a seascape that maps limit to a 2D non-dynamic vision, favouring a representation of dominant activities and uses (e.g. energy, conservation, transport…). This deconstruction of MSP as a geographical assemblage shows how MSP has become a Deus ex Machina and how neoliberal approaches of marine planning are producing neoliberal seas.

4. Discussant: 
Joanna Vince

avatar for Brice Trouillet

Brice Trouillet

University of Nantes, France

Tuesday June 25, 2019 16:45 - 18:15
REC A1.07 Roeters Eiland Complex, University of Amsterdam