Marine Conservation Biology Institute Marine Conservation Biology Institute
Marine Conservation Biology Institute
Protecting Marine Ecosystems

MCBI’s History and Accomplishments in Marine Spatial Management

MCBI has strong claim to bringing MSM (in the broad sense) to the USA.  Beginning in 1992, our CEO Elliott Norse began exploring MSM in Australia, and he (and more recently, Vice President for Science Lance Morgan and Board member Larry Crowder) has been publishing and addressing key audiences in speaking venues on MSM with increasing frequency in this decade.  We have a powerful, passionate commitment to catalyze the transformation from sectoral to comprehensive ecosystem-based spatial management at a national level.  This is MCBI’s top issue.

MCBI wrote a section on ocean zoning as a way to manage uses while protecting marine life Elliott’s 1993 book Global Marine Biological Diversity, and began holding scientific symposia and publishing papers on the conceptual framework for ecosystem-based ocean zoning in 2001 and 2003, respectively.  We advocated ocean zoning when we were invited to testify before the US Commission on Ocean Policy in 2004 and the US House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee in 2008.  Elliott made it the topic of the concluding chapter in his 2005 book with Larry Crowder, Marine Conservation Biology: The Science of Maintaining the Sea’s Biodiversity.  MCBI organized interdisciplinary symposia on marine spatial management at meetings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2007, Coastal Zone 2007 and the International Marine Conservation Congress, among many.  MCBI participated in the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis ocean zoning working group which produced the world’s most-cited publication on marine spatial planning in Science in 2006.  MCBI co-leads a project to map all major human uses of California’s oceans, a crucial step in ecosystem-based spatial management.

We turn our vision into reality by winning policy campaigns that make big things happen at the national level: generating President Clinton’s Marine Protected Areas Executive Order in 2000, defeating Representative Pombo’s anti-sanctuary/MPA legislation in 2006, getting President Bush to establish Papahānaumokuākea and Remote Pacific Islands and Rose Atoll Marine National Monuments in 2006 and 2009, securing a tripling of appropriations for the National Marine Sanctuary Program, and getting legislation passed (e.g., deep-sea coral research and technology program).


Marine Spatial Management/Ocean Zoning Papers and Chapters by MCBI

  1. Norse, E.A. (2003). A zoning approach to managing marine ecosystems. In B. Cicin-Sain, C Ehler and K Goldstein, eds. Workshop on Improving Regional Ocean Governance in the United States. University of Delaware Center for the Study of Marine Policy, Newark DE
  2. Norse, E.A. (2005). Ending the range wars on the last frontier: Zoning the sea. In E.A. Norse and L.B. Crowder, eds. Marine Conservation Biology: The Science of Maintaining the Sea’s Biodiversity. Island Press, Washington DC
  3. Crowder, L.B., G. Osherenko, O.R. Young, S. Airamé, E.A. Norse, N. Baron, J.C. Day, F. Douvere, C.N. Ehler, B.S. Halpern, S.J. Langdon, K.L. McLeod, J.C. Ogden, R.E. Peach, A.A. Rosenberg and J.A. Wilson (2006). Resolving mismatches in U.S. ocean governance. Science 313: 617-618
  4. Yandle, T., G. Osherenko, O.R. Young, L.B. Crowder, J.A. Wilson and E.A. Norse (2006). Property rights and ocean governance. Science 314: 593-595
  5. Morgan, L.E., C.-F. Tsao and J.M. Guinotte (2007). Ecosystem-based management as a tool for protecting deep-sea corals in the USA. In R.Y. George and S.D. Cairns, eds. Conservation and adaptive management of seamount and deep-sea coral ecosystems. Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami: Miami FL
  6. Norse, E.A. (2008). EBM perspective: Ocean zoning is inevitable. Marine Ecosystems and Management.
  7. Crowder, L. and E. Norse (2008). Essential ecological insights for marine ecosystem-based management and marine spatial planning. In F. Douvere and C.N. Ehler, eds. The Role of Spatial Planning in Implementing Ecosystem-based, Sea Use Management. Special issue of Marine Policy 32(5): 772-778

Speeches and Symposium Sessions
June, 2001.  MCBI organized the Second Symposium on Marine Conservation Biology in San Francisco CA, which featured the first known presentation on ocean zoning in the USA

February, 2003.  MCBI co-emceed the ocean zoning symposium and presented “Shifting gears: Ecosystem based management and policy recommendations” at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting in Denver CO

February, 2004.  MCBI gave a public lecture on “Ending the range wars on the last frontier: Zoning the sea” at the University of California, Santa Barbara

March, 2004.  MCBI spoke on ocean zoning, “Lines on the water: Ocean use planning and zoning” at the American Museum of Natural History’s Expanding the Ark: The Emerging Science and Practice of Invertebrate Conservation Symposium in New York NY

May, 2004.  MCBI presented “Shifting gears: Ecosystem-based management and the collateral impacts of fishing” at the Fourth World Fisheries Congress in Vancouver BC

August, 2004.  MCBI was the keynote speaker on ecosystem-based spatial management at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Connectivity Conference

February, 2005.  MCBI presented “Protecting the oceans: The case for ecosystem-based management” at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting in Washington DC

July, 2005.  MCBI gave a talk “Protecting the sacred waters: Marine ecosystem-based management in Haida Gwaii” at a Queen Charlotte Islands Community Hall, Skidegate BC

September, 2005.  MCBI presented “The end of the blue frontier: A new vision for our oceans” at the University of Washington, Seattle WA

October, 2005. MCBI spoke in the session on “Institutional mismatches constrain the diagnosis and treatment of declining oceans ecosystems” at the First International Marine Protected Areas Congress, Geelong Victoria, Australia

October, 2005.  MCBI gave the SuperSpeaker Lecture on “Conserving places: An emerging paradigm in marine ecosystem-based management” at Duke University Marine Laboratory, Beaufort NC

March, 2006.  MCBI spoke on the “Ecosystem approach to protecting, recovering and sustainably using marine biodiversity” at NOAA Fisheries’ Protected Species Stock Assessment Improvement Plan Tier III Workshop in Silver Spring MD

June, 2006.  MCBI was co-organizer and lead speaker on “Comprehensive ocean zoning: A new paradigm for ocean management in the United States” at a symposium on Management for Spatial and Temporal Complexity in Ocean Ecosystems at the Society for Conservation Biology Annual Meeting in San Jose CA

September, 2006.  MCBI was a speaker on “The end of the blue frontier: A new vision for our oceans” in the symposium on Ocean Zoning: Examples of Ecosystem-Based Governance at the California and the World Ocean ’06 Conference in Long Beach CA

September, 2006.  MCBI was a speaker on “Ecosystem-based management: Applying lessons learned to areas beyond national jurisdiction” in the symposium on The World Ocean and California: Critical Issues Beyond State Boundaries, which MCBI organized at the California and the World Ocean ’06 Conference in Long Beach CA

September, 2006.  MCBI was a speaker on “Deep seabed ecosystems within and beyond California waters” in the symposium on The World Ocean and California: Critical Issues Beyond State Boundaries at the California and the World Ocean ’06 Conference in Long Beach CA

September, 2006.  MCBI spoke on “Marine biodiversity, ecological interconnections and management information needs” at a conference called Approaches for Researching the Roles of Marine and Coastal Biodiversity in Maintaining Ecosystem Services, sponsored by the Census of Marine Life in Washington DC

October, 2006.  MCBI’s President, Elliott Norse was the keynote speaker on ocean zoning in a talk titled “Big Eddy: Creating a bigger vision for our shared ocean resources” at the Big Eddy Symposium organized by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society in Tofino BC

November, 2006.  MCBI presented “Essential scientific insights for marine spatial planning” at the International Workshop on Marine Spatial Planning, which was hosted by UNESCO in Paris, France

February 2007.  MCBI and two NCEAS OZ working group colleagues (Oran Young and Jim Wilson) held a symposium session at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting in San Francisco CA called Roving Bandits, Complex Systems, and the Closing Blue Frontier.  Elliott Norse’s presentation was titled “Frontier use of oceans: Lessons from the land”

March, 2007.  MCBI gave a talk on ocean zoning called “Investment management 101: Diversifying your portfolio” at the Conference on Law of the Sea in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean: Unresolved Issues and Challenges, organized by the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi TX

June, 2007.  MCBI gave an invited presentation called “End of blue frontier and the new paradigm for ocean management”, organized by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, at Capitol Hill Ocean Week in Washington DC

July, 2007.  MCBI gave two presentations: “Marine ecosystem-based management: An essential, overdue paradigm shift” and “Compatible ocean use analysis in the context of ecosystem-based management” at a session MCBI organized called Spatial Management: An Ecosystem-based Way of Protecting Marine Biodiversity and Separating Incompatible Uses at Coastal Zone 2007, Portland OR

August, 2007.  MCBI’s President, Elliott Norse gave the H. Burr Steinbach Visiting Scholar lecture on “Marine ecosystem-based management: An essential, overdue paradigm shift” at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole MA

October, 2008.  MCBI presented “Areas beyond national jurisdiction: The final frontier for marine conservation and management” at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Spain

November, 2008.  MCBI gave a talk titled “Comprehensive ecosystem-based ocean zoning: From Australian concept to American reality” at the Monterey Institute for International Studies, Monterey CA

November, 2008.  MCBI was invited to give a plenary talk titled “Marine spatial fisheries management: Shifting the paradigm to work the problem” at the Mote Symposium on Spatial Dimensions of Fisheries in Sarasota FL

March, 2009.  MCBI gave an invited presentation titled “Ecosystem-based ocean zoning: From Australia to North America” at the PNCIMA Forum, Vancouver BC

April, 2009.  MCBI presented “From MPAs to comprehensive ecosystem-based spatial management: A personal journey” at the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity’s Marine Conservation Working Group Annual Meeting, Laguna Beach CA

May, 2009.  MCBI organized a symposium session on “Three stages in the evolution of marine ecosystem-based management: ‘Exploitation everywhere,’ marine reserves, and comprehensive cosystem-based ocean zoningat the International Marine Conservation Congress, Fairfax VA

June, 2009.  MCBI was invited to address the NOAA Ocean Council in Silver Spring MD.  The talk was titled “A new vision, a new way: Ecosystem-based spatial management”

June, 2009.  MCBI gave an invited talk on “Technologies for ecosystem-based spatial management” at Capitol Hill Oceans Week in Washington DC




Learn More – See MCBI’s past and present efforts to strengthen place-based management of marine resources in the Gulf of Maine, in National Marine Sanctuaries, in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and on North America’s Pacific coast.