Traditionally, ocean management has centered on the management of individual sectors such as fisheries, aquaculture, marine mammal conservation, shipping, oil and gas, and mining. Management decisions concerning these areas are often completed in a bubble, focused by sector, unaware of potential cross sector implications and cumulative effects. In the future the coastal ocean is seen to have potential for providing clean energy solutions; marine protected areas for conservation and include recreation and commercial extraction such as fisheries. Conflicts between these users have already illustrated a demand for spatial planning of the coastal ocean using decision making tools such as trade-off analyses to facilitate management decisions. Currently such trade-offs are made implicitly or with little forethought; management will be much more effective and less controversial with a means for explicitly and transparently evaluating these decisions. These services can provide a proactive management framework for coastal ecosystems. By forecasting conflicts of use, the impacts of mismanagement can be reduced through prior insight.
These models will soon be used in spatial management policy in the MLPA process in California. The models must be validated before they can be used in any policy process, and PISCO data provide the principal support for this effort.
PISCO is uniquely poised to develop analytical tools to assess the trade-offs associated with a holistic ocean zoning approach. PISCO science is finding a wide range of applications to inform wise planning for human uses of the ocean’s biological and physical resources. In the past year, program findings have been used for: marine protected area monitoring and evaluation, wave energy zoning and impact assessments, on-going oil spill recovery assessments, impacts of hypoxia on fished species, endangered species listing, and other advances that have direct applications to spatial management of the oceans.