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The missing layer: Geo-technologies, communities, and implications for marine spatial planning

  • Physics


The assessment and management of marine resources is an increasingly spatial affair dependent upon emerging geo-technologies, such as geographic information systems, and the subsequent production of diverse layers of spatial information. These rapid developments are, however, focused on biophysical processes and data collection initiatives; the social landscape of the marine environment is undocumented and remains a "missing layer" in decision-making. As a result, the resource areas upon which stakeholders and communities are dependent are neither mapped nor integrated into planning processes. We report on a participatory method to map the presence of fishing communities at-sea. The lessons learned concerning the spatial representation of communities informs not only fisheries, but other sectors struggling to incorporate similarly the human dimensions of the marine environment in assessment and planning.

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