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Spatial management and strategic conservation planning

coastal city

(source Katherine Yates)

Principal Investigator: Yates

The marine environment, particularly in coastal areas, is an increasingly busy place, utilised by a wide range of stakeholders. Competition for space is great and resources for conservation are limited. This research explores way to improve ocean and coastal management through the transparent incorporation of stakeholders and the optimization of spatial management tools. The research has four main parts:

  • Stakeholder engagement in ocean and coastal management

    The importance of incorporating stakeholders in ocean and coastal management is increasingly recognized. Stakeholder engagement can improve the quality of planning outcomes and increase the chances of success for a given management plan. This research focuses on successes and failure in stakeholder engagement, and ways to improve future engagement processes.


    • Yates, K L, Payo-Payo, A & Schoeman, D S (2013) International, regional and national commitments meet local implementation: a case study of marine conservation in Northern Ireland, Marine Policy, 38, 140-150.
    • Yates, K L (2014) View from the wheelhouse: perceptions marine management from the fishing community and suggestions for improvement, Marine Policy, 48: 39-50.
    • Buchan, P & Yates, K L Stakeholder dynamics in a voluntary coastal partnership: implications for integrated coastal zone management. Marine Policy. In Review.
    • Zabari. R, Zabari. J, Magileviciute. E, Araujo. A & Yates. K L Bringing divergent stakeholder perceptions into view: the importance of step zero in MPA planning. PLOS One. In Review.
  • Multi-industry spatial planning

    In our increasingly busy coastal space, managers need to trade-off the allocation of space to a wide variety of conflicting and complementary uses. Deciding where to do what, in a transparent defensible way is the focus of the research.


    • Yates, K L, Schoeman, D.S. & Klein, C. (2015) Multi-industry Ocean Zoning: integrating biodiversity conservation, fisheries management and marine renewable energy generation. Journal of Enviornmental Science.
  • Modelling the distribution of marine biodiversity

    Prioritising spatial conservation requires an understanding of distribution of biodiversity, however data is often spare. This research focuses on modelling metric of marine biodiversity, assessing their utility for conservation planning and testing what sets of predictor variables provide the most robust models. It will also assess the transferability of models developed at different locations.


    One manuscript in review, one in development as of November 2014.

  • Assessing surrogates for spatial planning

    Data on the spatial distribution of conservation features and stakeholder priorities is often lacking, especially in the marine environment, yet it is essential for spatial planning. This research assesses the use of surrogates for both ecological (e.g. fish) and socio-economic (e.g. fishing effort) distributions.


    Two manuscripts are in development as of November 2014.

Centre for Coastal Research

The Centre for Coastal Research is no longer active. For all coastal research matters, please contact Professor Nick Harvey.