Back to Marine Spatial Planning Addressing Climate Effects (MSPACE)


The marine environment is an increasingly busy space, supporting a wide range of ecological, economic and social activities. Due to the many, often conflicting uses and pressures, it is vital that the marine environment and associated habitats are managed appropriately to help ensure the continued provision of beneficial goods & services and as a platform for other activities, now and into the future.

Climate change is a pressing issue for marine management which aims to implement robust but flexible strategies that can accommodate climate-driven changes and pressures on marine ecosystems and their natural capital. 

Climate-resilient marine plans are opportunities for each nation to design adaptive marine management strategies to optimise benefits in a sustainable way, limit the impacts of climate change and help achieve net-zero. Crucial to this delivery are social acceptance and the economic viability of plans, unique to the context of each nation, their regions and the maritime sectors to which they are investing. 

The MSPACE consortium is delivering on these goals, bringing together world-leading expertise in climate modelling analyses, social and economic research, in a project co-developed with UK’s industry and policy communities.

A distinctive aspect of MSPACE is that it is underpinned by a vast catalogue of state-of-the-art marine climate change modelling projections for the environment, species and habitats, uniquely available to this consortium through existing expertise and partnerships. This is supported by world-leading modelling spatial meta-analysis expertise and methods. 

MSPACE is also capitalising on key partnerships with the UK policy and industry communities, with whom knowledge and information will be shared on the vulnerabilities and opportunities that climate change presents to the near-term spatial management of the fisheries, aquaculture and marine conservation sectors across the UK Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). 

The work is undertaken by assessing climate change effects across the whole UK EEZ first and then by exploring economic and social dimensions of those effects further within four case-study plans that spread across the four UK Nations:

In this way, we hope to explore how large-scale ecological effects of climate change can be addressed and tackled, and any benefits reaped, within the diverse social, economic and regulatory landscapes of the UK Nations. Project partners within each of the planning institutions create a solid foundation for that exchange.

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The MSPACE project brings together teams from Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Marine Scotland Science, the Marine Biological Association, the Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science and the Universities of Essex, Bradford and Heriot Watt. It will also involve the Joint Nature Conservtion Committee and Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute. Project partners include the Marine Management Organisation, Natural Resources Wales, National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, Ørsted, the Seaweed Alliance, Aquamaps and the University of Lisbon.