The requirement for marine spatial planning has increased in profile in recent years as the variety of human activities take place at sea and their ranges in space and time have expanded.  There is a need to ensure that the differing activities are efficient and sustainable as possible and that conflicts are minimised. Maritime spatial planning processes bring stakeholders and decision makers together in a transparent manner to enable the effective planning of a suite of maritime activities. In turn this should reduce conflicts between different sectors and stakeholders, encourage investment in maritime activities by providing a transparency, predictable and clear framework in which decisions can be made and allow increase coordination and cooperation within and between countries.

MRAG has provided advice to clients on marine spatial planning from the analysis and comparison of the different Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) regimes in EU Member States for offshore renewable power generation deployment to the implementation of the British Indian Ocean Territory Marine Protected Area (MPA), which at its declaration was the world’s largest no-take MPA.  The need for MPAs has been highlighted by a number of leading marine scientists but balancing the conservation benefits of these in coastal nearshore and pelagic ecosystems may differ greatly. MRAG has conducted research into the benefits of various MPAs and their relative environmental benefits.