MSPRN E-Newsletter 01/2024

Welcome to the fifth MSPRN E-Newsletter!

January 2024

  MSPRN E-Newsletter 01/2024 


The Marine Spatial Planning Research Network is a diverse group of scientists, policy-makers and practitioners engaged in the constructive development of MSP through critical thinking, teaching, research, consultancy and implementation. We bring together academic expertise from across the social and natural sciences, such as marine ecology, terrestrial planning, geography, and political science, working alongside practitioners, consultancies and policy-makers. We are an informal network open to new participants who share our overall aims and encourage early-career researchers to join us. For more information please visit our website.

News from the MSPRN Coordination Group

Over the last number of years, our coordination group has been informally led by Stephen Jay. However, Stephen has recently indicated that he would like to step down from this role. The Coordination Group expresses their heartfelt thanks, on behalf of the network, to Stephen for all of his work initiating and building MSPRN since its beginnings in 2011. Stephen will continue as a valued member of the Coordination Group.

Cormac Walsh (University of Oldenburg) has kindly offered to take this on, supported by Zacharoula Kyriaz (MAREI, University College Cork). The group has agreed to this, and also to formally recognise Cormac as convenor and Zacharoula as secretary of the group.

MSPRN was established following discussions at the MARE People and the Sea Conference at the University of Amsterdam in July 2011. The network, in particular, sought to promote multi- and transdisciplinary research with an emphasis on the contribution of the social sciences, with the aim of making a progress contribution to the development of MSP. The focus was primarily on engaging with, supporting and critically reflecting on the development of MSP in Europe. Over the past twelve years, the MSP policy, institutional and research landscapes have all changed significantly. Key milestones include the adoption of the EU MSP Directive in 2014, requiring all member states to produce maritime spatial plans. The membership of MSPRN has expanded hugely, from a small group of individual researchers, working primarily in Europe, to a worldwide membership of 190 at the last count. The role of social science MSP research has also evolved over this time with an increasing diversity of perspectives, theoretical approaches and methodologies. In particular, we now have a strong basis for the comparative analysis of MSP in practice, taking into account of differing legislative and institutional frameworks, policy orientations and political priorities. In recent years, special issues of leading international journals (Ocean and Coastal Management, Maritime Studies, Planning Practice and Research) led by MSPRN members have examined a wide range of conceptual issues and thematic issues in MSP, including the role of critical thinking, knowledge and policy integration and the relationship between terrestrial and maritime spatial planning.

We also have a strong basis for dialogue across the research policy interface, working with engaged practitioners and other stakeholders. Currently, we see increased involvement of environmental scientists in the development and application of ecosystem-based approaches in MSP. This is a key area where MSPRN can perhaps adopt a stronger role, critically reflecting on, engaging with, and supporting practices of knowledge integration in MSP,as the accelerated use of marine space continues to place additional pressures on already depleted marine ecosystems.

MSPRN continues to be network dependent on and working through the active participation of its membership. We hope to continue to act as an international forum for knowledge exchange, critical reflection and debate on MSP and associated topics. The Coordination Group will continue to support such activities, where possible, through physical and online meetings, joint publications, the website, mailing list and newsletter. Please make use of the resources provided and do not hesitate to contact us with your suggestions and proposals for future activities!

1. Upcoming and recent MSP events



  • Irish Sea Maritime Forum 2023 Virtual Conference, 22nd November 2023. Recording here:
  • Plenary Session ㈽ : Introduction To K-MSP and Workshop 4: Marine Spatial Planning were held in the 6th GEO Blue Planet Symposium from October 31st – November 2nd 2023 in Seoul, Korea.

2. New MSP publications (from MSPRN members and selected other MSP-relevant articles)

  • Calado, H., Santos, C.F., Quintela, A, et al. (2024) The ups and downs of maritime spatial planning in Portugal, Marine Policy, 160, 105984.
  • De Vries, J.W., Spijkerboer, R.C., Zuidema, C. (2024) Making knowledge matter: Understanding and improving knowledge-integration in Dutch marine spatial planning policy, Ocean and Coastal Management, 248, 106928.
  • Flannery, W. (2023) Making marine spatial planning matter, in Partelow, S., Hajimichael, M. & Hornidge, A-K. (eds) Ocean Governance: Knowledge Systems, Policy Foundations and Thematic Analyses, Spinger, 93-112. (open access)
  • Juliette Davret, Brice Trouillet & Hilde Toonen (2023) The digital turn of marine planning: a global analysis of ocean geoportals, Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning,
  • Lees, L., Karro, K., Barboza, F.R. et al. (2023) Integrating maritime cultural heritage into maritime spatial planning in Estonia, Marine Policy, 147, 105337.
  • Li, S., & Jay, S. (2023). Addressing transboundary challenges: Exploring the interactive relations between collaborative governance and transboundary marine spatial planning in Europe. Marine Policy, 158, 105880.
  • Ntona, M. (2023) Human Rights and Ocean Governance: The Potential of Marine Spatial Planning in Europe, (save 20% by using code ESA23 – offer valid on until 31 March 2024)
  • Ritchie, H., Clydon, J., McElduff, L. & Slater, A-M. (2024) Independent investigation in marine spatial planning: necessary or discretionary?, Journl of Environmental Planning and Management, 67, 2, 401- 425.
  • Stelzenmüller, V., Rehren, J. Örey, S. et al. (2024) Framing future trajectories of human activities in the German North Sea to inform cumulative effects assessments and marine spatial planning, Journal of Environmental Management, 349, 119507.
  • Trouillet, B., Gaye, N., Seck, A., Desse, M., Niang, A., Fossi, A., Guineberteau, T., Kane, A., & Pourinet, L. (2023). The information challenges of marine spatial planning. Lessons learned from small-scale fisheries in Senegal. In Bertrand, S., & Bonnin, M. (Eds) Marine spatial planning in the tropical Atlantic. From a Tower of Babel to collective intelligence. IRD Editions, 229-256.
  • Van den Burg, S.W.K., Sirtun, M., van der Valk, et al. (2023) Monitoring and evaluation of maritime spatial planning – A review of accumulated practices and guidance for future action, Marine Policy, 150, 105529.

3. Policy and Practice

  • MSP in Victoria, Australia: new marine planning areas and MSP Guidelines, contact Nicola Waldron:
  • COBSEA (Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia, UNEP) set Marine and Coastal Spatial Planning as a cross-cutting priority and will continue supporting regional exchange and capacity building on MCSP. For more details see COBSEA Marine and Coastal Ecosystems Framework 2023.
  • Podcast on MSP in the Carribean:

4. Open Positions

PhD Position and Postdoctoral Fellowship in Marine Planning at Technion - Israel Institute of Technology with Prof. Michelle Portman,

Note: the items in this newsletter are based on the information provided by members of the MSPRN network. As such, it will it is inevitably selective and partial in its coverage.

Newsletter prepared by Cormac Walsh on behalf of the MSPRN Steering Group, 16.01.2024. The newsletters are archived on the homepage of the MSPRN website (top right).