By: Dr. Erik Olsen, Principal Scientist, Institute of Marine Research, Norway - Currently visiting scientist at NOAA NEFSC Ecosystem Assessment Program



Increased pressures on and competition for marine space is a major challenge for 21st century ocean management. Marine Spatial Planning offers a practical methods for managing several (human) pressures and impacts in an integrated manner taking into consideration societal goals for ecosystem health and function. Many countries, including the US (overlooking some Congressional hurdles), are in the process of developing MSP for its marine ecosystems. Norway has spearheaded the development with three oceanic integrated spatial plans ratified in 2006, 2009 and 2013 with the first plan being revised in 2011. The EU has also been in the forefront of MSP development with the MSFD and MSP directive. MSP development has faced marine scientist with new challenges as one has to deliver advice in a holistic, spatial and strategic setting different from the typical tactical advisory role fisheries scientst have had for decades. To improve the science base for MSP ICES initiated a strategic initiative on MSP for 2009 - 2012 which led to a refocussing of several of the expert groups towards MSP, several MSP related theme sessions, workshops, CRR-reports and a new spatial facility in the ICES data center.



Erik Olsen is a principal scientist at the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) in Norway. He finished his PhD in 2002 on age determination of minke whales, but has since then shifted his scientific focus towards ecosystem-based management and marine spatial planning. Since 2007 Erik has been heading the research program of Oil and Fish at the IMR - providing advice on ecological risk assessments of industrial human activities (eg. petroleum and mining). Erik has also served as chair of the ICES Sci Com Steering Group of Human Activities on the Ecosystem and co-chaired the ICES ACOM/SCICOM Strategic Initiative on MSP. Erik is currently working as a visiting scientist as NEFSC until June 2015.