• Video

EBM, MSP and MPA: Explained

This short explainer video was created to help clarify the overlap and distinction between EBM, MSP, and MPA, and how they can be used together and individually.

Marine spatial planning (MSP) is presently the most widely used tool for implementing ecosystem-based management (EBM) in the marine environment. EBM may or may not include marine protected areas (MPA).

There are two categories of MSP

  • #1 aims to support conservation and can be used for the creation of MPAs.
  • #2 aims to support sustainable development and manage competing maritime activities and doesn’t need to include MPAs.

Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, the most well-known example of MSP is the Sea Change Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan.

MSP is a useful tool for EBM, but it's not the only one, and there are differences between the two.

  • MSP manages a defined area, while EBM manages connections and dynamics
  • EBM embraces the concept of ki uta ki tai (mountains to sea)
  • The time scale of EBM tends to be longer than for MSP
  • MSP is usually top-down, while EBM is more likely to come from a bottom-up process
  • Who gets a seat at the table tends to differ between the MSP and EBM process
  • MSP is data intensive, EBM doesn't have to be

MSP, EBM and MPA can work together, but can also be used independently for managing marine ecosystems.