Marine Spatial Planning: Regional Map Credit:

Marine Spatial Planning: Regional Map

Fish Radio
Ocean Zoning explained by NOAA director
November 21, 2014                           

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Ocean-use planning: both on and under.  NOAA director Sullivan explains after this –  

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Planning and mapping ocean uses, both on and under, is a goal of the National Oceans Policy set in place in 2010. It is similar to land use planning, but for marine waters. Kathryn Sullivan is Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration –

Think of it like in any community when someone proposes to put more houses in or to set aside a tract of forest as a preserve or establish a new park. When you get a proposal like that, what do you all want to do? You want to come together and say how does that relate to our schools and what impact will it have on our highway system and where do the sewer lines run all those kind of questions come to the foreground. 16

 Ocean zoning is a misnomer, Sullivan says. It is Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) intended to bring together all ocean users, along with multiple layers of information so everyone is literally on the same page. It’s using basic Geographic Information Systems to guide community decisions.

The central thrust of GIS systems is that instead of having 12 people each bring their 14 pieces of paper all done to different scales – we can bring them all together into one common view so people can explore and answer your questions on a common basis of understanding.

Sullivan says through marine mapping, planners can consider the cumulative effects of ocean industries, make industries more sustainable and proactively minimize conflicts between ocean users. Ultimately, it helps form common understandings among people of a coastal region.

So they can make their decisions and have mutual understanding of where are the fishing grounds and does the shipping lane really need to go here and is there going to be some wind energy developed and if so, where is the favorable wind area and what impact does that have on favorable fishing areas and how does that impacts the efficiency of shipping routes in and out of our harbor. That ’s pretty fundamental geographic information systems or GIS techniques to be able to bring together multiple different layers of information that really are a part of what you are thinking about together when you make those kind of decisions as a community.

That’s NOAA Director Kathryn Sullivan. Find links at

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. ( In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.