Key principles for effective integration in marine spatial planning

Dr Joanna Vince1, Mr Jon Day2

1University of Tasmania, Launceston, Australia, 2James Cook University, Townsville, Australia


Ecosystem based management, spatial orientation, a multilevel policy framework and integration have all been identified as essential components of effective marine spatial planning (MSP). Integration has been noted by researchers and through international forums as being essential to achieve effective oceans and coastal governance. However, integrated policy approaches are the most difficult policies to design, develop and implement. They require a holistic rather than sectoral focus; horizontal and vertical jurisdictional support and coordination; and the involvement of a diverse group of stakeholders including industry, NGOs, and local communities. Integrated policies are prone to failure but if ‘integrative capacity’ exists, integration in MSP can contribute to its success. This paper examines the role of integration within MSP and suggests a framework and checklist for determining effective integration. It refers to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Australia’s Oceans Policy as examples which demonstrate that integrative capacity can contribute to the success, failure and longevity of MSP and ecosystem-based management.


Dr Joanna Vince is a Senior Lecturer in the Politics and International Relations Program, at the School of Social Sciences in the College of Arts, Law and Education. Her research focusses international, domestic and comparative oceans governance; marine resource management; marine plastic pollution and governance solutions; non-state market driven governance in fisheries and aquaculture; and the effectiveness of governance arrangements in deterring illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.  Dr Vince is co-author of the book Oceans Governance in the Twenty-First Century: Managing the Blue Planet and co-editor of Marine Resources Management.