marine activities

Social impacts and value of marine activities reviewed in new report

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The UK’s Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has released a report, led by PML, on the social impacts of selected marine activities in relation to marine planning and other MMO functions.

The report, entitled “Social impacts of fisheries, aquaculture, recreation, tourism and marine protected areas in marine plan areas in England”, was published in December 2013 and will be used to support the MMO’s objective to “create a new marine planning system designed to integrate the social requirements, economic potential and environmental imperatives of our seas.”

Understanding social impacts and value of marine activities is legally required to support the implementation of a holistic marine planning system for UK waters. However, evaluating social impact and value is extremely complex as they vary so much over time, scales and even positive or negative outcomes.

In order to understand the current knowledge base of social impact and value of the five selected activities, PML’s Dr Eleni Papathanasopoulou led an interdisciplinary group to undertake a full review of available literature relating to impact, value, drivers of change and adaptation as well as a stakeholder consultation and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping. The subsequent report highlights knowledge gaps, suggests recommendations as to how the evidence base could be improved and provides the first step in understanding what is needed to fulfil the legal requirements of marine planning.

Dr Papathanasopoulou commented: “This report is a first in collating a large and varied amount of information on the social impacts of marine activities. It highlights the complexity of the issues at hand, which marine planning needs to consider.”

“Literature from both the UK and further afield were reviewed and analysed using frameworks borrowed from the fields of economics and transition management. The results and feedback from stakeholder consultations highlight the opportunities available for further social research that can be undertaken, which is useful to inform the marine planning process.”

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