This paper aims to contribute to the current debate on Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) by exploring the issue of stakeholder engagement. MSP is an emergent policy field that is subject to an increasing body of research, yet the role, scope and nature of participatory engagement within the process remains a neglected topic. This paper briefly reviews the nature of the ‘marine problem’, to which MSP is seen to be the response and describes the emergence of MSP policy in the UK with specific emphasis on participatory aspects. Drawing on the experience of terrestrial planning it discusses the potential benefits of stakeholder engagement in MSP and highlights some of the key issues that need to be taken into account when shaping stakeholder input into the process. It then goes on to describe the findings from a series of interviews with key stakeholders in the Irish Sea Region, which suggest that we need to develop a more critical and deeper understanding of how various interests frame the ‘marine problem’, and how they see their role in shaping the form of the MSP process. This highlights the importance of encouraging stakeholder involvement in MSP, the need to develop a shared vision of a ‘sea interest’. Priorities are then set for research to support this important policy agenda.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
- Environmental Science(all)
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
- Water Science and Technology
- Geography, Planning and Development