Sustainable Maritime Development Process


The World’s current approach to ocean policy and sustainable maritime development is based on two main International strategic foundations: UNCLOS and UNCED. Both if integrated they provide the basis for oceans governance and oceans policy frame work. They enable states to exercise and protect National’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction over marine resources and offshore areas. At the same time they obligate states to ensure ocean uses are ecologically sustainable. The implementation of the provisions of UNCLOS, related Conventions, rules and standards relating to the protection and preservation of the marine environment and to the conservation and management of living marine resources, as well as the implementation of the commitments agreed to in Chapter 17 of Agenda 21, present some of the major challenges facing the international ocean community. These challenges cannot be met by one region, one State, one ministry, or one local community alone. It is therefore very important to strengthen cooperation and coordination at all levels. At the national level, the marine dimension must be integrated within the overall national policy. The adoption of an ocean policy is a very important mechanism to achieving an integrated, interdisciplinary, intersectoral and ecosystem-based approach to oceans management. A coherent legislative framework is also essential. However the development of this national oceans policy depends on every state situation. Vertical and horizontal integration between these two foundations, need a high political umbrella and a lead ministry for setting the national marine agenda. This agenda must be based on sound scientific priorities development plan required for understanding how best to protect National’s marine biological diversity, the ocean environment and its resources, and on a wide consultation process with all stakeholder. Comparative analysis of the development process of national ocean policy in major maritime nations such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, shows in spite of the fact that Agenda 21 has provided a clear defined programme and management activities, each country have followed a different approach in developing its national oceans management strategy. All of them have used these two international foundations and their guiding principles in developing their oceans policies. These approaches are integrated in content and are precautionary and anticipatory in ambit, as required by UNCLOS and as reflected in the Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 programme areas. The first programme in chapter 17 is “Integrated management and sustainable development of coastal areas, including exclusive economic zones.” (Agenda 21, 1992). To this end, and according to Chapter 17 the state should establish the necessary strengthening appropriate coordinating mechanisms (such as a high-level policy planning body) (Agenda 21, 1992). It further states “Such mechanisms should include consultation, as appropriate, with the academic and private sectors, non-governmental organizations, local communities, resource user groups, and indigenous people.” Also coastal states are required “to improve their capacity to collect, analyse, assess and use information for sustainable use of resources, including environmental impacts of activities affecting the coastal and marine areas. Information for management purposes should receive priority support in view of the intensity and magnitude of the changes occurring in the coastal and marine areas.” Other related management activities include:

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  1. Preparation and implementation of land and water use and sitting policies;
  2. Implementation of integrated coastal and marine management and sustainable development plans and programmes at appropriate levels;
  3. Preparation of coastal profiles identifying critical areas, including eroded zones, physical processes, development patterns, user conflicts and specific priorities for management;
  4. Prior environmental impact assessment, systematic observation and follow-up of major projects, including the systematic incorporation of results in decision-making;
  5. Contingency plans for human induced and natural disasters, including likely effects of potential climate change and sea level rise, as well as contingency plans for degradation and pollution of anthropogenic origin, including spills of oil and other materials;
  6. Improvement of coastal human settlements, especially in housing, drinking water and treatment and disposal of sewage, solid wastes and industrial effluents;
  7. Periodic assessment of the impacts of external factors and phenomena to ensure that the objectives of integrated management and sustainable development of coastal areas and the marine environment are met;
  8. Conservation and restoration of altered critical habitats;
  9. Integration of sectoral programmes on sustainable development for settlements, agriculture, tourism, fishing, ports and industries affecting the coastal area;
  10. Infrastructure adaptation and alternative employment;
  11. Human resource development and training;
  12. Public education, awareness and information programmes;
  13. Promoting environmentally sound technology and sustainable practices;
  14. Development and simultaneous implementation of environmental quality criteria.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stands at a cross road. The Kingdom has the opportunity to develop its maritime sector and sustainably manage national marine resources. The status of national marine resources and governance is not good; marine resources are degraded and marine governance is inadequate. This indicates that an urgent action is needed to save the threatened national seas and opportunities. As has been highlighted and underlined in previous chapters, Saudi Arabia marine governance must be reorganized under one document: a comprehensive National Marine Policy. Comprehensive national marine policies are a relatively new trend in ocean governance. As implied they address all marine and coastal issues. NMPs are a response to the sectoral fragmented approach currently dominating marine governance which often leads to unorganized management and authority as new responsibilities are delegated to different agencies as they arise. In addition to incorporating all marine and coastal issues, NMPs seek to integrate all levels of governance: local, provincial, national, regional and international. The term “integrated management” is used to describe this approach. Although many countries and regions have created comprehensive marine or ocean policies, I focus on marine policy development process and governance as developed and experienced in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom for two reasons: First they represent the first three leading countries in the world that have developed comprehensive ocean policy and governance framework and is being implemented and tried to differing levels of success; Canada enacted the Oceans Act of 1996 followed by the release of Australia’s Ocean Policy in 1998. Great Britain followed in May 2002, with Safeguarding Our Seas: A Strategy for the Conservation and Sustainable Development of our Marine Environment. Each country has followed a different policy route to sustainable oceans development. While Australia has followed a totally pure policy frame work by providing a new structure, mechanism and policy guidance for delivering its comprehensive national oceans policy; Canada followed a different approach by first providing a comprehensive legal framework for oceans uses and resources management within Canada’ different maritime zones including the 200nm EEZ and continental shelf, second by producing Canada Oceans Strategy in July of 2002. The United Kingdom has followed a totally different approach by first developing a conservation strategy followed by introducing a single piece of legislation to protect the marine environment by enacting in 2009 the Marine and Coastal Act. Second, the three countries have developed their policies in accordance with Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 and based on the 1994 United Nation’s Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Being the world leaders in oceans policies, I focus on oceans policy development process in these three countries as examples; their successes and leadership role in oceans policy can guide the creation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia National Marine Policy.

Comparative Overview of Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom oceans policy


  1. Initiation Process:

Australia is the first country to set in place a policy framework for an integrated and ecosystem based planning and management for all of Australia’s marine jurisdictions. With the release of Australia’s Oceans Policy (AOP) in 1998, Australia has demonstrated a world leadership by implementing a coherent, strategic planning and management framework for dealing with complex issues confronting the long term future of Australia’s oceans (AOP1, 1999). AOP was initiated by a political announcement from the prime minister, followed by a wide public consultation process using a consultation document (Oceans- New Horizon). AOP process was initiated by the end of 1995 when the Prime Minister at that time announced that the Commonwealth government had agreed to the development of an “integrated oceans strategy” that would deal with the management of Australia’s marine resources (AOP, 1998). However, due to the federal election and change of government little progress was achieved, but in 1996 the new government announced that it would continue developing the oceans policy as being an “environmental protection policy” and transferred the responsibility for developing the policy agenda from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to the Department of Environment, Sport and Territories (DEST) (Bateman, 1997). Later on the name of this department has been changed to the Department of Environment and Heritage (DEH) charged with protecting and conserving Australia’s natural environment and cultural heritage.

  1. Lead Ministry:

In 1996 the new Australian government announced that it would continue developing the oceans policy as being an “environmental protection policy” and transferred the responsibility for developing the policy agenda from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to the Department of Environment and Heritage (DEH) (Vince, 2003). As a result of the transfer of responsibility for oceans policy development, Australia Environment Minister led the process by establishing an intergovernmental committee to assist with the preparation of the policy (Vince, 2003). Using the collaborative arrangements and formal intergovernmental linkages, the Minister established a committee encompassing members from major Commonwealth agencies involved in marine affairs. Also a number of other committees were formed during these early stages of development to assist with the development of a discussion paper (Vince, 2003). The Committee has prepared the Oceans-New Horizon paper which has been launched in March 1997 to assist in the first consultations round with State, Territory and Local governments, peak bodies and organizations and the general public. The New Horizon set out a draft vision, goal and objectives for Australia’ Oceans Policy and an indication of some of the broad issues relevant to an Oceans Policy as well as briefly introducing some of the features of Australia oceans (New Horizon, 1997).

  1. Consultation Process:

After the publication of the New Horizon paper a second round of consultation begun through a public forum to review the draft policy paper (MAGOP, 1998). During this process, Environment Australia organised public forums where the public could get an overview of the Issues Paper and to provide comment. The forums consisted of two parts, the first part included a formal briefing from Environment Australia officials while the second component was an information session organised by the state branches of the Marine and Coastal Communities Network (MCCN) (Vince, 2003).

  1. Maritime Ministerial Board

Before the release of AOP the Australian Government established a Ministerial Advisory Group on Ocean Policy in 1997 to provide advice to the Minister for Environment and Heritage on the views of the broad range of stakeholders of the policy and any other issues the Group thought relevant to the development of the policy (AOP1, 1998). It has also been suggested that the MAGOP was established to gain the support of NGOs during the Policy process as well as to promote public awareness (Vince, 2003). Later on the MAGOP was replaced by a National Oceans Ministerial Board (NOMB) of key Commonwealth Ministers, chaired by the Minister for the Environment and Heritage (Foster, 2005). The task of the board is to drive the implementation of the AOP by overseeing regional planning processes, furthering policy development, overseeing cross sector coordination, setting priorities for program expenditure and coordinating the Oceans Policy with State governments (AOP1, 1998).

  1. Oceans Strategy:

Based on the wide policy consultation process Australia was quickly able to develop its sustainable National Ocean Policy and vision of “Healthy oceans: cared for, understood and used wisely for the benefit of all, now and in the future”(AOP1, 1998). The aim of the strategy is to overcome problems perceived to arise from a division of powers and responsibilities leading to jurisdictional overlap and inconsistencies in ocean management (Vince, et al. 2003). The strategy also intends to overcome the problems and limitations imposed by sector based management by supporting integration across sectors through regional marine planning. AOP came in two volumes (AOP1, 1998). The first volume targeted nine major objectives: “1) exercise and protect Australia’s rights and jurisdiction over offshore areas, including offshore resources. 2) To meet Australia’s international obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and other international treaties. 3) To understand and protect Australia’s marine biological diversity, the ocean environment and its resources, and ensure ocean uses are ecologically sustainable. 4) To promote ecologically sustainable economic development and job creation. 5) To establish integrated oceans planning and management arrangements. 6) To accommodate community needs and aspirations. 7) To improve expertise and capabilities in ocean-related management, science, technology and engineering. 8) To identify and protect Australia’s natural and cultural marine heritage. 9) To promote public awareness and understanding” (AOP1, 1998). The key principles that were used in developing Australia ocean policy intrinsically; indigenous peoples’ interests; stewardship ethic; intergenerational and social equity; ecologically sustainable use; conservation of biological diversity; participatory, transparent and accountable decision making and management; and integrated planning and management(AOP1, 1998).

  1. Ocean Action Plan:

The second volume of Australia’s Oceans Policy complements the first volume of the Policy by outlining specific measures that are being or will be pursued by the Commonwealth across ocean sectors and interest(AOP2, 1998). The Specific Sectoral Measures volume is comprehensive in its scope, covering the major environmental, industry, community, research, scientific, international and defence interests that the Commonwealth has responsibility for in marine jurisdictions. The document has identified 390 commitments across those five broad areas and detailed implementation schedule of actions. The schedule identified organisations responsible for implementing actions, priorities, milestones and resourcing (AOP2, 1998). This detail facilitated the auditing of the Policy and contributed to an assessment of its effectiveness.

  1. New Institution

To implement AOP a National Oceans Office (NOO), was established to provide secretariat and technical support and programme delivery for oceans policy initiatives(AOP1, 1998). The NOO was responsible for coordinating the overall implementation and finalize the detailed implementation schedule of actions and further development of the Oceans Policy(AOP2, 1998). NOO also was responsible for coordination and distribution of information on oceans policy implementation and regional marine planning matters to all stakeholders(Addison and Chenko, et al. 2005). Other new institutions included the National Oceans Ministerial Board, Regional Marine Plan Steering Committees and the National Oceans Advisory Group (NOAG). In 2005 NOO lost its executive agency status and is now located within the Marine Division of the Department of Environment and Heritage (DEH, 2005). The Minister of Environment and Heritage has the responsibility for NOO through the department and reports to Cabinet on its progress (Haward and Vince, 2006).

  1. Ocean Research Priorities Plan:

Whilst AOP development process was progressing, the Marine Science and Technology Working Group, comprising representatives of Australian Government marine science and related agencies, as well as State research institutions and non-government marine science interests; were working to develop Australia’s Marine Science and Technology Plan (Alder, 2001). The government aimed to develop and release the Plan as a companion to Australia’s Oceans Policy(Vince, 2004). The Marine scientific advisory committee was tasked with promoting coordination and information sharing between Government marine science agencies and across the broader Australian marine science community(AMSTP, 1999). The MSTC prepared a Marine Science and Technology Plan to provide a strategy, consistent with the Oceans Policy, for integrated and innovative science, technology and engineering. The Plan encompasses three major programs under each program multiple objectives(AMSTP, 1999): .

  • Understanding the Marine Environment ( 7 objectives)
  • Using and Caring for the Marine Environment ( 15 objectives)
  • Infrastructure for Understanding and Utilising the Marine Environment ( 6 objectives).
  1. Legislation:

        Australia Oceans Policy has established new institutions to oversee the implementation of the Regional Marine Planning process. The institutions have emphasised a departure from traditional sectoral arrangements whilst incorporating over 100 laws and policy instruments addressing aspects of the management of the marine environment and the legal jurisdictional framework established through offshore federalism(Haward and Vince, 2006). The Offshore Constitutional Settlement (OCS) returned the jurisdiction over 3nm from the low water mark to the states(Stark, 2004). OCS remains the primary intergovernmental arrangement governing ocean and marine resources in Australia and makes up the jurisdictional framework for the development and implementation of the Ocean Policy(Vince, 2004). Since Australia Ocean Policy has been developed as being an “environmental protection policy” the principal Australian legislation is the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999(cth) (EPBC Act)(Akwilapo, 2007). The EPBC Act and the associated Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2000 (EPBC Regulation) provide a national framework for Environment protection through focusing on protecting areas of national environmental significance and on the conservation of Australia’s biodiversity (Akwilapo, 2007). On the other hand, a commitment to ecologically sustainable development and multiple use management is embedded within the Oceans Policy framework emphasising a commitment to, inter alia, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development’s (UNCED) Agenda 21 principles and UNCLOS (Akwilapo, 2007).

  1. Integrated Marine Spatial Planning

The AOP emphasised that Australia’ Regional Marine Plans is based on large marine ecosystems. This system helps to maintain ecosystem health and integrity while promoting multiple use of oceans by integrating sectoral commercial interests and conservation requirements. Australia approach to Integrated Ocean Planning and Management encompass the following(AOP2, 1998):

  • Development of a new institutional arrangement comprising the National Oceans Ministerial Board, the National Oceans Advisory Group and the National Oceans Office and Regional Marine Plan Steering Committees.
  • Providing policy guidance for oceans planning and management.
  • Regional Marine Plan, based on large marine ecosystems. The first plan was developed for the south-eastern region of Australia’s EEZ.
  • Funds for National marine resource surveys; development of sustainability indicators and monitoring; and rapid assessments of the biological resources of Australia’s oceans. The resulting information based was used to underpin effective regional integration for planning and management. These assessments also benefit industry by providing information on potential new resources such as deep-water fisheries and pharmaceuticals.
  • Development of National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas.
  • Development of Marine Parks and World Heritage Areas.
  1. Maritime Safety and Environment Protection Plan

The Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) has developed a strategy to protect the marine environment from shipping operations through improved environmental management of shipping and related activities(Stark, 2004). The strategy encompass: designation of marine sensitive areas, promote improvement of waste reception facilities at ports, marinas and boat harbours, improve anti-fouling practices, management and piloting a national monitoring programme for marine debris, community and industry awareness, and support for the enhanced National Plan to Combat Pollution of the Sea by Oil and Other Noxious and Hazardous Substances (the National Plan) (AOP1, 1998). Under the AOP the Government committed to enhance maritime safety and highlighted the importance of enhancing regional cooperative arrangement for search and rescue, development and implementation of search and rescue arrangements; implementation of the Global Maritime Distress Safety System(GMDSS), pursue consistent requirements for the use of Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) and maritime communications for small vessels(AOP2, 1998). To further ensure the Safety of Navigation, the Government committed to maintain efficient coast-effective maritime safety navigation services and infrastructure, expansion of the local area Differential Global Positioning Systems (DGPS) services; technological development in marine navigation, and involvement in the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities and other international forums to ensure global navigational safety policies, standards and new technologies(AOP2, 1998).

  1. Maritime Surveillance and Security Plan

To ensure that there is an effective and efficient surveillance capacity for Australia’s marine jurisdictions and effective enforcement of national legislation throughout Australia’s marine jurisdictions. Under the Oceans Policy the Australian government continued to pursue through the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and other; to increase action addressing illegal fishing in CCAMLR and adjacent waters; increased surveillance and enforcement measures in the Great Barrier Reef; continued to cooperate to review and rationalise effort involved in and capacity for surveillance and enforcement including reviewing legislation relating to enforcement in Australia’s marine jurisdictions(AOP2, 1998). The Oceans Policy highlighted that the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) tasks encompass safeguarding these areas, controlling of maritime approaches to exercise and protect Australia’s sovereignty and sovereign rights. This involve preparedness and contingency planning; maritime surveillance and response; fisheries law enforcement; search and rescue; hydrographic services; and the Australian Oceanographic Data Centre (AODC)(AOP2, 1998).

  1. Maritime Sector Development Plan

During AOP development process the Marine Industry Development Strategy was also announced. The Strategy highlighted what the Marine Industry is worth what should incur for further resourceful developments(AOP2,1998). It illustrated that 90 per cent of Australia’s oil and gas is sourced offshore; that the shipbuilding industry supplies one third of the world’s high speed ferry market; wild capture fisheries represent a major primary industry; and that marine tourism is a booming industry(Vince, 2004). The Specific Measures Volume of Australia Oceans Policy underpinned several challenges facing the maritime sector and the various activities such as : fisheries; aquaculture; offshore petroleum and minerals; shipping; marine tourism; marine construction, engineering and other industries; pharmaceutical, biotechnology and genetic resources; and alternative energy resources. For meeting these challenges the policy proposed numerous activities under each one of them. For example to meet the shipping sector challenge to increase trade and regional development by delivering safe, efficient, competitive and environmentally responsible maritime infrastructure and shipping services(AOP2, 1998). The policy identified measures including: regulatory reform of the maritime sector with a view to removing barriers to competition, rationalise jurisdictional arrangements, harmonise standards and promote mutual recognition; and encourage continuous improvements in shipping and waterfront sectors to enhance the competitiveness of Australian trade and industry; to continue Australia leading role in international trade and maritime forums to ensure access to competitive and efficient international shipping services is maintained(AOP2, 1998).

  1. Marine Education and Training Plan

Under Australia’s Marine Science and Technology Plan, NOO is responsible for providing advice to the Ministerial Board on marine research priorities relevant to the Oceans Policy to ensure that the marine research agencies are kept informed of the Government’s emerging priorities(TFG, 2002). The NOMB is responsible to consider Government priorities for publicly funded marine research related to the implementation of the Oceans Policy including: community capacity building, networking opportunities, and community participation in marine management, research and monitoring and data collection; and provide opportunities for community representation on consultative committees in regard to marine resource management, the establishment of a new marine science research and teaching centre at Coffs Harbour; support for the Australian, Pacific and Global Oceans Observing Systems; establishment and operation of a Regional Office of the International Oceanographic Commission in Perth, Western Australia; provision of quality maritime education and research; and training and employment in jointly managed parks; development of a long term marine education policy and programme for kindergarten to year 12 to be incorporated in curricula in all States and Territories; development of relevant resource materials for use in schools and Technical and Further Education colleges in cooperation with professional bodies; and support for the provision of quality practical educational material for teachers and students(AMSTP, 1999).

  1. National Maritime Information Center

To improve monitoring and understanding of marine ecosystems and the impacts of resource use Australia government has developed the Australian Coastal Atlas, within the Environmental Resource Information Network (ERIN), to allow general access to adequate information for community involvement in oceans management as a fundamental element of the Australian Spatial Data Infrastructure(AOP2, 1998). Thus, the Australian government provided support for the Marine and Coastal Community Network to develop a comprehensive communication strategy to assist the public, industry and governments learn about and understand the role of Australia’s Oceans Policy. Also the government supported the Australian Surveying and Land Information Group (AUSLIG’s) continuing development of the Australian Maritime Boundaries Information System as a national database of Australia’s maritime jurisdictional boundary data to provides Australia’s with an independent and scientifically credible information on Australia’s environment for decision-makers and the wider community(AOP2, 1998). AUSLIG is the Commonwealth focal point for coordination of geodetic information and works closely with State and Territory agencies, the Inter-governmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping (ICSM) and industry groups towards the provision of the highest quality geodetic infrastructure(AUSLIG, 2009). Moreover, AUSLIG’s under the ocean policy is responsible for the development of a coordinated observations and methods to analyse and interpret the data that will make optimum use of information from remote and in situ measurements at the space and time scales required for effective monitoring, use, management and conservation(AOP2, 1998). It is clear that the lack of a comprehensive system of monitoring sites, and lack of long-term commitment to monitoring inshore and offshore, particularly on the scale of large marine ecosystems has affected Australia ability to assess changes in the condition of the marine environment. Thus, AOP recognized that Integration of coastal, inshore and offshore monitoring activities is vital to National capacity for future assessments and maintenance of marine and coastal environments(AOP1, 1998).

  1. National Oceans Forum

To provide for Community representation and participation, the AOP established a National Oceans Advisory Group as a non-government consultative and advisory body to the National Oceans Ministerial Board(AOP1, 1998). The NOAG is responsible for promoting strategic management of the ocean environment and its resources; to provide opportunities for community representation on consultative committees in regard to marine resource management and facilitate consultation with peak indigenous groups on the requirements for establishing a national consultative mechanism, such as an annual forum(AOP1, 1998). Thus, to promote implementation of Australia Oceans Policy, the policy called for holding a National Oceans Forum to coordinate across the agencies responsible for the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and a broad national cross-section of those with a stake in the management of Australia oceans(IOC, 2007).

  1. International Cooperation:

Given the dynamic nature of the marine environment, AOP recognized that the effective implementation of the Oceans Policy requires cooperation with immediate neighbours and other countries to address the transboundary impacts and improve regional cooperation on ocean issues(AOP1, 1998). Thus, AOP called for: peaceful use of the oceans and cooperation in access for national and international scientific research and monitoring programmes; cooperation with neighbouring countries and with industries to maximise resources; improved cooperation and coordination between existing coastal monitoring and state of the environment reporting programmes; sharing information and extending enforcement and surveillance cooperation with regional and global agencies; establishment of observing systems of regional interest and to promote international management and research programmes with other Southern Hemisphere countries(AOP2, 1998). The policy also highlighted the need to improve regional cooperation on ocean issues such as pollution prevention, fisheries management and marine protected areas; International actions to reduce excess capacity in the global fleet through the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum(AOP2, 1998).

  1. Funding:

Finally, to give this comprehensive national marine plan and programs a life the Government of Australia has provided generous fund to the policy development process including: A$50 million for the development and implementation, A$1.8 million for the development of National Coastal Policy, the provision of $80 million from the Federation Fund for the development of a heavy industrial and marine fabrication complex at Jerois e Bay, in Western Australia(AOP1and 2, 1998). Also the Commonwealth has committed $60 million for a grants programme for the commercialisation of renewable energy technologies and for venture capital funding of small innovative companies that are developing such technologies, the government has also increased funding to accelerate declaration and management of marine protected areas and for infrastructure at selected sites to develop best practice demonstrations for waste reception facilities, and promoting the best practice demonstration facilities(AOP2, 1998).


By contrast Canada has followed a different route to ocean policy using the legislative approach, the Government of Canada brought the Oceans Act into force on January 31, 1997 making Canada the first country in the world to have a comprehensive oceans management legislation. Canada Ocean Act was “enacted by Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada Parliament wishes to reaffirm Canada’s role as a world leader in oceans and marine resource management. The Act confirms Canada’s role with respect to oceans management, specifying the need to integrate marine conservation with development activities.

The key objectives of Canada’s Ocean’s Policy include: to understand and protect the marine environment, support of sustainable economic opportunities and international leadership on ocean’s policy. However, despite the deference between Australia and Canada in their approach in initiating and developing national oceans policy, there are some similarities between them most importantly is both are aimed at providing an integrated oceans governance based on UNCLOS and UNECD “Agenda 21” also both countries used the integrated marine spatial planning and the concept of large marine areas ecosystems system as a tool to determine the management and conservation requirements of each marine region, including the establishment of marine protected areas, prevention of potential conflict between sectors in relation to resource allocation and provision of long term security to all ocean users.

  1. Canada Oceans Policy development process:

The Oceans Act provides the legislative foundation for Canada’s Oceans Strategy and policy. It provides the necessary infrastructure to move forward with a modern oceans governance framework by:

  • defining maritime territory in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), including the declaration of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ);
  • assigning a leadership role to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in the stewardship of Canada’s oceans, and the development of a national strategy for the management of all activities in or affecting estuarine, coastal and marine areas; and
  • clarifying and consolidating federal oceans management and responsibilities, as well as oceans responsibilities not otherwise assigned.

Canada’s oceans policy process effectively begun in 1994, one year before Australia, when Canada’ Prime Minister accepted a recommendation from the National Advisory Board on Science and Technology on Oceans and Coasts’ to formulate an overall Oceans Policy Framework and develop ocean focused legislation (Foster, 2005; et al.) Following this recommendation, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) released a discussion paper, A Vision for Oceans Management in May 1994, which supported the concept of an Oceans Act and the development of a national oceans management strategy (OAG, 2005). Subsequently a process of consultations involving both those inside and outside of government resulted in Bill C-26 – An Act respecting the Oceans of Canada – in 1996. Bill C-26 attained royal assent in December 1996 and came into force in 1997 (COA, 1996). The Act is’ a statute which formulates, in a comprehensive way, how Canada’s oceans are to be defined and managed.

The policy vision is “To ensure healthy, safe and prosperous oceans for the benefit of current and future generations of Canadians”.

  1. Lead Ministry

For that end Canada Oceans Act COA assigned the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to lead the development process of a national oceans management strategy guided by the principles of sustainable development, the precautionary approach and integrated management (COA, 1996). COA gave a central role to the DFO in all oceans issues and it situated the management of existing resource, scientific, hydrographic, coast guard and other responsibilities of the oceans management context within the DFO (COA, 1996).

  1. Consultation process:

Canada’ Oceans policy development process passed through two main public engagement and consultation processes (Mageau, 2005). The first one, focused on the Vision for the Oceans Act; the other was a structured consultation on Canada’s Oceans Strategy designed to solicit federal, provincial, First Nation and public input. The Fisheries and Oceans Department engaged the views and perspectives of Canadians for supporting a wide range of discussions, workshops and consultation activities across Canada (CSAS, 2001). The consultation process involved: information sessions for outlining the intent of the legislation, through normal parliamentary consultation procedures which involved formal publication of draft legislation by the House of Commons, as well as targeted consultations with affected parties, witnesses to the Parliamentary Review Process, including potentially affected stakeholders, environmental non-government organizations, Aboriginal authorities, coastal communities and academics served to broaden the scope of COA(DFO,2001). The Public comments on the Vision Paper served to form the basis of the draft legislation and have recommended to the Prime Minister that Canada move decisively to address environmental issues confronting oceanic areas and maximize the economic benefits that could be derived by managing ocean resources more sustainably. Specific recommendations focused on the need to develop a national strategy as well as legislation focused on the management of ocean and coastal spaces and resources (Mageau, 2005).

  1. Ministerial Maritime Board

Canada did not establish a National Oceans Ministerial Board but has established in 2001 an Ocean Task Group under the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM) to help develop and implement Canada’s Oceans Strategy (OAG, 2005). At the same time Canada established a Minister’s Advisory Council on Oceans (MACO) in 2000 to provide advice on oceans management policy issues and to help engage the public and sectors in issues related to oceans management (DFO, 2004). Furthermore, a system of interdepartmental committees for oceans encompassing four working groups, were established at the Deputy Minister, assistant Deputy Minister and program levels to aid federal government coordination to focus on the four “pillars” set out in the Oceans Action Plan: namely; International Leadership, Sovereignty and Security; Integrated Oceans Management for Sustainable Development; Health of the Oceans; and Oceans Science and Technology (Mageau, 2005).

  1. Oceans Strategy development process:

Canada Oceans Strategy was released to the public in 2002, more than five years after the enactment of the Oceans Act (COS, 2002). The Strategy, provides an overall strategic approach to oceans management, and has been developed based on the lessons learned and the issues identified through the federal government work with interested Canadians, oceans management initiatives on all three coasts, and Australia’s Ocean Policy experience( Vince, 2008). It sets out the policy direction for oceans management in Canada and it defines the Vision, principles and policy objectives for the future management of Canada’s estuarine, coastal and marine ecosystems. The overarching goal of COS is “To ensure healthy, safe and prosperous oceans for the benefit of current and future generations of Canadians”. As set out in the Oceans Act, the COS is based on the three principles: sustainable development, integrated management and the precautionary approach. These three principles guide all ocean management decision making in Canada. Also the strategy has identified three policy objectives or outcomes for the advancement of oceans management activities (COS, 2002): 1) Increase understanding and protection of the marine environment. 2) Support for sustainable economic opportunities. 3) Demonstrate international leadership in ocean management. To achieve those three objectives several activities were grouped under each objective. The DFO planned implementation of these activities through collaboration with local communities, industries, Aboriginal peoples, provinces and territories, environmental groups and other interests; share of responsibility for achieving common objectives; and engaging Canadians in oceans-related decisions in which they have a stake(COS, 2002). The Strategy proposes the use of new and existing mechanisms such as committees, management boards and information sharing to promote coordination in ocean management and seeks to implement a program of an Integrated Management planning to engage partners in the planning and managing of oceans activities(COS, 2002). Under the first objective, the strategy called for: improved scientific knowledge base for estuarine, coastal and marine ecosystems; development of policies and programs aimed at marine pollution prevention; conservation and protection of the marine environment. For supporting sustainable economic opportunities objective the strategy identified the need for: sectoral measures to improve and support governance and management of marine industries; development of new and emerging opportunities for oceans industries and oceans-related coastal development; co-operation and co-ordination to support and promote business development in the oceans sector. To achieve international leadership objective the strategy emphasised: National sovereignty and security; promotion of international oceans governance; sharing experience, promotion of compliance and building capacity, in particular for developing nations (COS, 2002). On the other hand, to improve oceans governance the strategy called for stewardship and public awareness activities and the establishment of mechanisms and bodies for oceans co-operation and collaboration to promote Integrated Management planning for all Canada’s coastal and marine waters. These activities provided a modern oceans management frame work required for integrating social and environmental information so that human activity is better factored into sound decision-making(COS, 2002).

  1. Canada Oceans Action Plan:

Canada created a new oceans governance arrangements, and ecosystem science approach to improve the management of the marine environment(COAP, 2005). Based on UNCLOS and the principle of integrated management agreed to in the 1992 UNECD “Agenda 21” and the long term value of sustainable development. In February 2005, Canada’s Oceans Action Plan for Present and Future Generations was released. “The Oceans Action Plan responds to that commitment and advances the legislation and policy in place as well as the Government of Canada’s commitment to smart regulation. The Oceans Action Plan articulates a government-wide approach to seize opportunities for sustainable development. The Plan serves as the overarching umbrella for coordinating and implementing oceans activities, and as the framework to sustainably develop and manage Canada oceans. Canada Oceans Action Plan is based on four interconnected pillars:

  • International Leadership, Sovereignty and Security;
  • Integrated Oceans Management for Sustainable Development;
  • Health of the Oceans; and
  • Ocean Science and Technology” (COAP, 2005).

The Action Plan’ first pillar highlighted International Leadership, Sovereignty and Security as the essential base for ocean policy. The plan specified activities including joint ecosystem overview and objectives setting for integrated management planning in collaboration with the US in the Gulf of Maine; to address the challenges of the Arctic coastal and marine environment under the Arctic Marine Strategic Plan via the Working Group for the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) of the Arctic Council which comprise eight countries; strengthening international fisheries and oceans governance. For enhancing Canada’s maritime security a number of actions have been specified including: the development of surveillance, patrol and interdiction operations to combat overfishing to prevent virtual stock destruction; to protect economic security interests and sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring the seabed and managing the sustainable use of living and non-living natural resources over the full extent of Canada’s extended continental shelf; and to work with regional partners to prevent ecological damage, map the area, and strengthen regional economies.

The second pillar in Canada Ocean Action Plan is the Integrated Ocean Management Plan for sustainable development. Canada has recognized that there are serious limiting factors that handicap Canada ocean economy. These factors include conflict of use, need for grounding decision making on sound scientific information, uncertainty and regulatory complexity, need for more funding to develop new economic opportunities and non consumptive uses of the marine environment. To over come these limiting factors, the Action Plan identified activities including: designation of five priority areas for the establishment of open collaborative ocean management arrangement including the establishment of ecosystem based approach. Also the Action Plan highlighted oceans management tools which include: review and assessment of scientific knowledge in 5 LOMAs; identification of areas and species requiring special management means in LOMAs; characterization of habitat in LOMA; ecosystem specific objectives EOs and possible regulatory options; documentation of value of activities and support of Integrated Management planning; engagement of affected parties in LOMAs and MPAs; development of agreements with provinces, territories and Aboriginal authorities on role and responsibilities; intergovernmental and stakeholder for LOMA planning and management.

The third pillar is oceans health and the quality of marine environment. Activities under this pillar include: implementation of Federal MPA Strategy to establish a network of key MPAs by 2007 including designation of key wildlife Areas and Migratory Birds Sanctuary; Development of tools including selected criteria for Ecologically and Biological significant areas; Science support and completion of Ballast Water and Marine Pollution Regulations; Increased surveillance for preventing Sea Based Sources of Pollution.

The fourth pillar encompass activities such as: support for technology networks and research priorities; stronger ecosystem based science and the need for deployment of modern technology to support oceans understanding and awareness, and monitoring and management regionally and nationally; using the integrated planning, effective regulatory measures to protect the ocean resources against over harvest, as well as environmental degradation and protection measures; designation of marine protected areas.

  1. New institution:

Canada the Oceans Strategy builds upon the Oceans Act and has established a new legislative and policy framework to modernize oceans management(COAP, 2005). Under the Ocean Act: instead of establishing a new institution or organization for the Oceans Integrated Management, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans been assigned as the lead Ministry for oceans stewardship and the management of all activities in or affecting estuarine, coastal and marine areas and the development of a national strategy (Stark, 2004). To achieve the Act objectives the government has made an internal legislative reform to the functions and role of the DFO and other related Departments(DFO, 2008). For example the full management of the shipping sector including marine safety and security; vessels and port operations and environment protection was under the responsibility of the Department of Transportation Minister(Shipping Act, 2001). This highlighted clear conflicts between the two Departments responsibilities and called for major gradual amendments to Canada’ Shipping Act started by amending the Shipping Conferences Exemption Act of 1987 and enacting the Shipping Act of 2001 the Act then has been consolidated as a statute in June 2009 to allow for the co-management of the shipping sector between the two departments. On the other hand, under the Oceans Strategy, oceans governance encompass three specific areas(COS, 2002). First, establishment of institutional governance mechanisms such as committees, management boards and information sharing to promote coordination in ocean management and enhance coordinated, collaborative decision-making across the federal government and with other levels of government. Second, establishment of advisory bodies to consider both the conservation and protection of ecosystems, while at the same time providing opportunities for creating wealth in oceans related economies and communities. Third, promoting stewardship and public awareness. This required a collaborative approach and a flexible and transparent planning process that respects existing divisions of constitutional and departmental authority and does not abrogate or derogate from any existing Aboriginal or treaty rights. The framework under the strategy involves an Integrated Management body composed of both governmental and non-governmental representatives with interests in a given ocean space(COS, 2002). The implementation of the new governance arrangements in Phase I of the Oceans Action Plan was aimed at: strengthening institutional arrangements at the national and regional level, strengthening relationships with Aboriginal people in oceans management, support for the Minister’s Advisory Council on Oceans, support for the establishment of an Oceans Task Group under Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers, the use of other federal, provincial, territorial fora in relation to ocean management such as the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment; strengthening and expanding institutional arrangements to implement the Oceans Act responsibilities at the national and regional level; the use of the Government On-Line initiative as a tool to promote oceans management co-operation and collaboration( COS, 2002).

  1. Ocean Research Priorities Plan:

Canada did not prepare an Oceans Research Priorities Plan (ORPP) to focus on issues in key areas of interaction between society and the ocean as well as to provide guidance on how ocean science sectors (government, academia, industry, and non-governmental organisations) can be engaged or how to address the research priority areas to ensure that the management, use and protection of the ocean ecosystem is based on the best available scientific evidence. Instead, DFO prepared the 2005 Strategic Plan “Our Waters, Our Future”, to guide the work of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) over a period of five years(DFO, 2005). The Plan outlines DFO’s vision, objectives, priorities and activities from a sectoral view. It confirms DFO’s mission to deliver to Canadians: safe and accessible waterways, healthy and productive aquatic ecosystems, and sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. It has set out two objectives for the Department:

  • Deliver programs that reflect the priorities of Canadians and are part of a fully integrated policy approach.
  • Support DFO’s dedicated, professional workforce by equipping it with the tools it needs

Under the first objective DFO aimed at renewing its science program to enhance delivery of scientific information, advice and services in support of better policy development and decision-making and improved service to Canadians(DFO, 2005). The work on science renewal included two major initiatives: strategic and operational planning and program re-engineering and realignment(DFO, 2005). The Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS) coordinates scientific issues for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The different Regions of Canada conduct their resource assessment reviews independently, tailored to regional characteristics and stakeholder needs. CSAS function is to facilitates these regional processes, fostering national standards of excellence, and exchange and innovation in methodology, interpretation, and insight. CSAS works with the Regions to develop integrated overviews of issues in fish stock dynamics, ocean ecology and use of living aquatic resources, and to identify emergent issues quickly. CSAS also coordinates communication of the results of the scientific review and advisory processes(CSAS, 2009).

  1. Legislation and Regulations:

In Canada there are a complex web of laws and regulations governing Canada’ oceans and they are managed by several levels of government(COS, 2002). This has called for developing a unified vision and integrated approach to oceans management that effectively considers the impact of individual sector activities on each other, and the oceans as a whole. Through the Oceans Act, Canada was the first country in the world to adopt comprehensive oceans management legislation ( Parkes and Manning, 1998). The Government of Canada considers the Oceans Act as representing a global benchmark for oceans legislation(COS, 2002). For Conservation and protection of the marine environment the Oceans Strategy provides support for new legislation, regulations and policies and programs aimed at protecting marine species at risk(COS, 2002). For example the Government of Canada has introduced a Bill to allow Canada to amend the Migratory Birds Convention Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Bill is designed to make the enforcement of marine pollution cases more effective to better protect its marine environments and send a strong message to polluters(COAP, 2005).

  1. Integrated Marine Spatial Planning System:

Canada has also established Large Ocean Management Areas (LOMAs)(COS, 2002). Under the Action Plan there are five LOMA where integrated oceans management plans are being developed for the management of each of these ocean area and for the identification of more LOMAs in the future to ensure integrated oceans management plans are in place for all of Canada’s ocean areas(COAP, 2005). Under COA the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has a wide authorities for the designation of LOMAs and MPAs. Part II, s. 31-The Minister, in collaboration… shall lead and facilitate the development and implementation of plans for the integrated management of all activities or measures in or affecting estuaries, coastal waters or marine waters… More further Part II, s. 32-For the purposes of the implementation of integrated management plans, the Minister: shall develop, implement and coordinate policies and programs and; may establish/recognize advisory or management bodies (COA, 1996). The first integrated ocean management plan developed in Canada by the DFO Maritimes’ Oceans and Coastal Management Division was the Eastern Scotian Shelf Integrated Management Plan (ESSIM)(COAP, 2005). The Plan came into existence after several public review and wide consultation process with the Stakeholder Advisory Council (SAC) representing all major ocean sectors and government agencies in the planning area; and the Senior Intergovernmental Regional Committee on Ocean Management(SIRCOM). Based on the generally positive feedback received, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans received in February 2007 endorsement for the Plan from both groups to be given status as an Integrated Management Plan under Section 31 of the Oceans Act (UNESCO, 2006). This plan is the product of an extensive collaborative and inclusive long planning process started in 1988. It has been shaped and accepted by stakeholders, supported and endorsed by government authorities, and formally recognized as Canada’s first Integrated Ocean Management Plan under the Oceans Act of 1996 (UNESCO, 2006). Canada approach to integrated oceans management planning as highlighted by the ESSIM initiative encompass the following common process:

  • Definition of Integrated Management Area: To define ecosystem boundaries; compile ecological overview; existing & potential use audit; identify knowledge gaps; & issues.
  • Engagement of Interested Parties: People & commitment to cooperative actions.
  • Development of Integrated Management Plan: Planning bodies address issues & essential knowledge gaps; set goals, objectives & priorities; establish roles; & develop management plan.
  • Integrated Management Plan Implementation: Management body (regulators & others) commits to adopt and implement the plan.
  • Integrated Management Plan Monitoring and Evaluation: Monitor & revise plan as required
  1. Maritime Safety and Environment Protection Plan

Canada’s Oceans Strategy responds to this requirement by providing policy direction for an integrated approach to ocean management, coordination of policies and programs across governments following an ecosystem approach to ocean resource management and environmental assessment(COS, 2002). Two specific elements are set out in the Oceans Act understanding and protection of the marine environment. The policy framework according to the strategy includes: support for the creation of a national network of marine protected areas and the establishment of marine environmental quality guidelines based on improved scientific knowledge base for estuarine, coastal and marine ecosystems, policies and programs aimed at marine pollution prevention; Conservation and protection of the marine environment(COS, 2002). Thus, to ensure marine environmental quality the Oceans Action Plan encompass conservation and protection measures through actions such as Marine Protected Areas and “smart” regulations, and guidelines and standards including significant investment in the marine environment aimed at improvements of fisheries management and regulation; understanding large scale oceanographic processes and ensuring safe navigation through Canada waters(DFO, 2005).

“It is important to highlight that a critical goal of this Strategy is the ability to ensure the safety and security of shipping and life at sea. Achieving this goal involves prevention through the prediction of dangerous conditions, the maintenance of safe and secure waterways, and the enforcement of Canadian sovereignty, and the capacity for emergency response that serves people, property and vessels in distress” (COS, 2002).

The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) helps DFO meet its responsibility to ensure safe and accessible waterways for Canadians. The CCG also plays a key role in ensuring the sustainable use and development of Canada’s oceans and waterways. The CCG helps the government meet the public’s expectation of clean, safe, secure, healthy and productive waters and coastlines. Furthermore, Canada plays a strong role in promoting national and international marine safety network. For example in the area of shipping, Canada harmonizes marine safety and environmental policies with international maritime law, and is a major supporter of the work of the International Maritime Organization (COS, 2002).

  1. Maritime surveillance and security:

Canada the Oceans Strategy highlighted sovereignty and security as the essential base for oceans policy and management, for the protection of national sovereign rights and to the preservation of maritime order and security(COS, 2002). The strategy further underpinned the importance of national ability to conduct surveillance, patrol and interdiction operations as pivotal to national security and must be associated with a strong fleet to reinforce and support oceans management and enforcement of national and international law within Canadian maritime areas of jurisdiction(COS, 2002).

  1. Maritime Sector Development Plan:

Canada did not prepare a strategy for the development of economic opportunities. Instead Canada Oceans Policy encouraged the development of knowledge base to assess the economic potential for development(COS, 2002)). At the same time, it underpinned the importance of considering the social, cultural and environmental impacts of economic development by highlighting that the costs of not implementing an oceans strategy include increased conflicts and competition for ocean space, lost economic opportunities and continued environmental degradation(COS, 2002). Canada strategy encompass three programs for insuring sustainable economic opportunities:

  • 183 Sectoral measures to improve and support governance and management of marine industries: include support for fisheries and aquaculture development; support for offshore oil and gas, offshore mineral development, shipbuilding and industrial marine, Innovation Agenda.
  • 183 New and emerging opportunities for oceans industries and oceans-related coastal development: include support for innovative industries partnerships and for economic diversification in coastal communities; promotion of technology transfer, market access, and business development for oceans product and services internationally. And removal of trade barriers to oceans industry development.
  • 183 Co-operation and co-ordination to support and promote business development in the oceans sector: include examination and streamlining of regulations to ensure effective environment protection; examination of existing programs to ensure that oceans opportunities are captured.; Support the National Research Council and Industry Canada development of a Marine and Ocean Industry Technology Roadmap to help identify technologies that could be supported by Technology Partnerships Canada (TPC). The Roadmap outlines actions to develop technology and emphasizes sustainability
  1. Integrated Marine Education and Training Plan:

Canada’s Oceans Policy did not give a similar attention to this important issue. However, the Ocean Strategy called for promoting public education on oceans through stewardship and public awareness activities and the use of integrated management. At the same time highlighted the need for integrated data collection, monitoring, research, synthesis, and information sharing, communication and education. It encourages active participation of non-government organizations, interest groups and academics with a wealth of expertise and can provide informed advice on matters such as economic, environmental and social issues, science and technology, community living, jobs and growth, and public education (COS, 2002).

  1. National Maritime Information Center:

COS called for improved co-operation in the collection, monitoring and disseminating of information, including the integration of traditional ecological knowledge(UBC, 2002). It highlighted that modern oceans management requires integrating social and environmental information so that human activity is better factored into sound decision-making(COS, 2002). Further more, the strategy recognized that integrating diverse and complex information, supplemented by new research to improve understanding of the marine environment (particularly of marine ecosystems), contributes to the advancement and management of oceans resources(COS, 2002). Thus, the Oceans Action Plan provided support for the development and implementation of technology demonstration platforms such as the Placentia Bay Technology Demonstration Platform, to facilitate wireless transmission of key oceanographic information for integrated management and for modelling systems(COAP, 2005). The Platform is designed to integrate a variety of information that is generated from existing ocean, land and air-based technology. The aim is to build a better understanding of Canada oceans to support ecosystem based management while enabling new technology development(COAP, 2005). The project is designed to provide access for all stakeholders to data and information in support of effective management and sustainable development of coastal and ocean areas and the safety and security of life at sea(COAP, 2005).

  1. National Ocean Forum:

Canada Oceans Strategy did not establish a national oceans forum, instead it has promoted academic liaison on oceans research and the development of national and international marine safety network(COS, 2002). Thus, Canada’ Ocean Action Plan highlighted the need to network with coastal communities to achieve economic development, ensure economy of scale for small-to-medium size firms, and capitalize on the current market(COAP, 2005). At the same time, ocean science and technology networks and organizations, as well as National Research Council institutions, government labs, and consortia of private firms are emerging as focal points for information-sharing, and innovation(COAP, 2005). For example, in Aylmer, Quebec in June 2000 a workshop has identified the need to obtain a better understanding of human uses of the ocean, to improve its management, and to draw on social science, humanities, legal and policy perspectives(OMRN, 2009). Participants acknowledged the need to provide increased funding to achieve this goal, and to build an organizational framework to encourage interdisciplinary communication among researchers themselves, and between researchers, managers, coastal communities, and others research users. Canada’ Oceans Policy respond was to form Oceans Management Research Network (OMRN)(OMRN, 2009). OMRN was formed in February 2001, with funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the DFO (SSHRC and DFO, 2004) The strengths and value of this networking are reflected in the quality of the initiatives the OMRN has carried out to date, including National conferences, thematic workshops, collaborative agreements and networking arrangements, documentation of ocean and coastal management activities, creation of new knowledge on key thematic areas through a combination of scholarly and public publications, and helping to develop the ocean management research agenda in Canada(OMRN, 2009).

  1. International Cooperation Ocean Plan:

COS has been designed to advance Canada’ leadership in oceans management through the continues work with the United Nations and its bodies and directly with other nations to continue to assist the global effort to improve oceans governance and management arrangements(COS, 2002). For example, Canada has presented the Oceans Act and Strategy to the international community at important fora, such as the World Summit on Sustainable Development, as a framework for integrated, horizontal ocean governance. Also Canada claims a strong history of assisting other nations, particularly developing nations, in the sustainable development of their oceans(UNESCO, 2006). However, the management of Canada’s oceans is based on both national and international obligations and commitments(COS, 2002). For example, Canada ratified UNCLOS in 2003 after ensuring that an effective United Nations Fisheries Agreement (UNFA) enforcement regime has been established(COAP, 2005). To achieve this ecosystem approach to oceans management the strategy promotes national and international collaboration to prevent illegal activity and enforce national and international obligations(COA, 1996). This approach promotes harmonization of national marine safety and environmental policies with international maritime law through the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and compliance with existing international agreements including the establishment of a national and international marine safety network; support to promote the Arctic/circumpolar agenda through the Arctic Council to promote integrated management, stewardship and precautionary approach as the overriding principles for oceans management in international fora, including the World Summit on Sustainable Development; and development of management arrangements with bordering nations for trans-boundary coastal and marine ecosystems(DFO, 2008).

  1. Ocean Fund:

The only funding mentioned in Canada’ Strategy and Action Plan is the fund for undertaking the work necessary to provide support for a claim to extend the Canadian continental shelf rights beyond 200 nautical miles as provided in the UNCLOS, this fund was provided in the federal budget of 2004(DFO, 2005). On the other hand, No new funding was allocated to DFO from the federal government to implement the Oceans Act (CI2) other than the $15 – 17 million (Canadian) which has been allocated for the implementation of Canada’s Oceans Act(Stark, 2004). This is equivalent to only 1% approximate of the DFO’s budget. To facilitate funding the Ocean Act gave the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans the authority to coordinate logistics support and provide related assistance for the purposes of advancing scientific knowledge of estuarine, coastal and marine ecosystems(Stark, 2004).

United Kingdom

By contrast, the UK until today has not yet implemented an integrated comprehensive national maritime policy similar to those in Australia and Canada. The cornerstone of the United Kingdom maritime policy is a set of sectoral based policies with a strong legislative base. Development of integrated policies involving multiple use has emerged only in coastal management and, latterly, sea use management offshore through the evolving concept of marine spatial planning. The need for the development of national policy and Oceans Act in the UK has been and continues to be influenced by international global and regional marine conventions; the role of the EU in marine affairs; and most notably, through the Common Fisheries Policy and OSPAR convention.

  1. Initiation Process:

In August 1999 the UK Government and the devolved administrations pledged to accompany the strengthening of protection for terrestrial wildlife sites with an examination of how effectively the system for protecting nature conservation in the marine environment was working (SSL, 2005). To begin this task the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) established a working group to review marine nature conservation bringing together marine industries and nature conservation organisations with representatives of Government Departments and agencies. This forum was setup to help the Government to develop possible future mechanisms to protect, conserve and manage nationally important marine wildlife in the seas around England(SSL, 2005). The report of the DETR Working Group on the Review of Marine Nature Conservation (RMNC), proposed more than sixteen key recommendations focused on the environmental aspect of this strategic policy framework. Until this date measures and proposals for marine conservation in UK have been developed in an ad hoc manner, responding to particular events, new legal obligations and public pressure and there has never been a systematic and co-ordinated approach to the subject or any overall vision and objectives for marine nature conservation in the UK (English Nature, 2000). However, the UK Government has accepted the importance of both the ecosystem approach and the precautionary principle by enacting the Marine and Coastal Act in 2009 and its antecedents, the 2002 Safeguarding Our Seas strategy and the 2005 Safeguarding Sea Life. All these instruments have been designed to set a clear and consistent framework for coastal and marine planners, regulators and users, to helping everyone to work towards common objectives in UK waters and guide the development of marine plans by providing a clear tool for decision-making which will contribute to achievement of sustainable development in the UK marine area. To put all these instruments into effect and implementation the UK released the draft of the Marine Strategy Regulations 2010 for public consultation, the regulation will come into force on 15th July 2010 (MSR, 2009).

  1. Lead Ministry:

DEFRA is the leading department in developing the UK marine policy and strategy. The department was created in 2001 after the perceived failure of MAFF to deal adequately with an outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease(Wiki, 2009). The creation of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has enabled the UK to develop a policy that is both economically and environmentally sustainable focusing on the relevance of environmental considerations to fisheries management and involving stakeholders, such as fishermen, scientists and managers, much more closely in decisions that affect them. Also the creation of the devolved authorities such as the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department (SEERAD) has yielded similar benefits in Scotland(SSL, 2005). Including Wales and Northern Ireland are all working for a policy that is both economically and environmentally sustainable (SOS, 2002).

  1. Consultation Process:

The first meeting of the DETR Review of Marine Nature Conservation Working Group was on the 10th of September 1999. It was formed as a result of the Government’s consultation a year earlier on better protection and management for Sites of Special Scientific Interest with the aims to:

  • evaluating the success of previous statutory and voluntary marine nature conservation measures and identifying examples of current best practice and existing barriers to successful marine conservation objectives;
  • putting forward practical and proportionate proposals for improving marine nature conservation in England, which may also inform separate proposals for marine conservation in Wales; and
  • finalising recommendations by the end of 2000.

The original remit of the Working Group focussed on territorial waters, but this position was revised in the summer of 2000 to cover offshore renewable energy in the continental shelf and superjacent waters under UK jurisdiction (usually up to 200 nautical miles from the coast) (English Nature, 2000). At the same time, a pilot study was set up in the Irish Sea to test a number of the Group’s ideas; sub-groups were established to examine specific issues; and consultants, Working Group members, and the Review Secretariat submitted numerous papers and research reports. Additionally, wide ranging consultations took place with local interest groups. These processes have enabled the Working Group to achieve a greater understanding of how marine nature conservation can work better alongside the UK uses of the sea (RMNC, 2004). The review process brought together industry and environmental stakeholders working with Government over a 5 year period to examine how effectively the system for protecting nature conservation in the marine environment was working, and to develop practical proposals for improving it (SSL, 2005). Three workshops with key stakeholders where held- two in London and one in Edinburgh. Stakeholders included Government agencies, environmental non-governmental organisations and representatives of the business community (SSL, 2005). Taking forward this vision, the UK Government, Northern Ireland Executive and Welsh Assembly Government invited views, in June 2008, on a number of high level marine objectives. These objectives articulated the outcomes they are seeking for the UK marine area as a whole, while taking account of their distinctive circumstances and responsibilities. The Scottish Government included these objectives in Sustainable seas for all – a consultation on Scotland’s first marine bill in July 2008( HMOs, 2008). The Government response to pre-legislative scrutiny and public consultation on the draft of the Marine and Coastal Bill included around 3,500 members of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, International Fund for Animal Welfare and Friends of the Earth all of them supported the introduction of the Bill and some 11,000 Ramblers’ Association members lodged specific support for the coastal access provisions, the remaining 399 responses were from across the whole spectrum of marine industries and users and were generally supportive and helpful in content (Defra, 2008). In June 2008 Defra Secretary of State lunched a consultation for establishing a framework for Community action in the field of marine environmental policy to implement Regulations required to implement Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17th June 2008. The consultation is a joint consultation between Defra, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland. It invites views on the draft regulations with which the Government and Devolved Administrations propose to transpose the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) (Directive 2008/56/EC). The Directive must be transposed by July 2010. These regulations put in place the legal framework that will enable steps to be taken to implement the Directive, and on which there will be further consultations between 2010 and 2016(Defra, 2008).

  1. Maritime Ministerial Board

Defra established the Marine Pollution Advisory Group (MPAG), to involve stakeholders through a group Chaired by Government, MPAG comprises representatives of a number of UK Government Departments and devolved administrations, local government associations, non-departmental public bodies, industry associations and non-government organisations(SOS, 2002). Despite of this wide representation of government and stakeholder in MPAG, MPAG establishment was mostly for coordination to prevent marine pollution and a forum for exchanging views not for development reasons. Instead five Secretaries of State DECC, CLG, DFT, MOD and Defra with the devolved Administration provided the highest policy level for the development of the United Kingdom marine strategy and involve stakeholders. However, because the Marine and Coastal Act has created a new marine planning system designed to bring together the conservation, social and economic needs of UK seas the approach focused first on conservation to deliver clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas. This entailed the creation of a network of Marine Conservation Zones to protect rare and threatened species and habitats; the establishment of marine functions and activities; provision about migratory and freshwater fish; establishment of an English coastal walking route and of rights of access to land near the English coast (Defra, 2009).It is important to note that Defra claim that no other country in the world has yet successfully introduced a single piece of legislation to protect the marine environment such as the Marine and Coastal Act (Defra, 2009). Currently four regional projects are working with local groups and businesses to identify which areas will be designated as Marine Conservation Zones(Defra, 2009). Further more, to define the policy requirements for the UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Programme (UKMMAP) and provide direction on these matters to the Marine Assessment and Reporting Group (MARG) a Monitoring Assessment Policy Committee was established in 2005(MAPC). The committee endorses the monitoring proposals put forward by MARG and ensures appropriate resources are available. The committee also maintains a dialogue with the MARG on any changes in either national statutory requirements or EU and other international treaty obligations and the potential implications of any such changes for the future of the

  1. Oceans Strategy:

The Government respond to RMNC report of 2000 came in 2002 by the release of the marine stewardship report “Safeguarding Our Seas: A Strategy for the Conservation and Sustainable Development of Our Marine Environment”. To deliver clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas (Defra, 2002). The strategy promotes an ecosystem-based approach, underpinned by the principles of sustainable development, integrated management, conservation of biological diversity, robust science, the precautionary principle and stakeholder involvement (SOS, 2002). But in 2004 RMNC reviewed and examined the current system for marine nature conservation under the strategy and has concluded that it is not fit for purpose(RMNC, 2004). It does not provide the means to apply the ecosystem approach which is central to the marine stewardship process and fundamental to delivering the Government’s vision for the marine environment of “clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas”. Nor will it allow Government to meet its international obligations(RMNC, 2004). The Review focused on the environmental aspect of this strategic policy framework and made recommendations in this respect. They recommended that the Government should finalise and apply an overarching policy framework of strategic goals, objectives, targets and indicators which can apply to all elements of its strategic goals for the marine environment(RMNC, 2004). The RMNC recommended that the Government should introduce the necessary measures, including policy and legislation as appropriate, to underpin the application of the marine nature conservation framework throughout waters under UK jurisdiction(RMNC, 2004). Following the commitment made in the Marine Stewardship Report Safeguarding Our Seas, a state of the seas report Charting Progress had been published in March 2005. Its findings had raised new questions and suggested that existing monitoring programmes were insufficient to assess the status of many elements of the marine ecosystem. Charting Progress outlined a number of actions, including the development of a UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy (UKMMAS) to address the following:

  • Ecosystem Indicators Development;
  • Capturing Knowledge for evidence based policy;
  • Establish MDIP – Marine Data and Information Partnership; and
  • Establish MCCIP – Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership.
  1. Ocean Action Plan:

In respond to RMNC report of 2004 Defra published in 2005 the government response representing five Secretaries of State and the devolved administrations have already given their support to RMNC report and progressed a number of the recommendations set out in the report. The response set out their shared policies on marine nature conservation and went on to describe their intentions in relation to the 16 key recommendations made in the Working Group’s report of 2004. The release of Safeguarding Sea Life document which contains two parts: The first sets out the response of the UK Government and devolved administrations to the Report in the context of their wider policy for the marine environment. The response set out the overarching policies for marine nature conservation of the four UK administrations using the following ten themes:

  • Strategic Goals,
  • Policies for the Wider Seas,
  • Regional Seas,
  • Scientific Understanding,
  • Ecosystem Objectives,
  • Management Measures,
  • Marine Protected Areas,
  • Organisational Arrangements,
  • Monitoring, and
  • Implementation.

The second part represented the Government response to the 16 key recommendations (SSL, 2005). This was followed by the establishment of MMO in 2008, then enactment of the Marine and Coastal Act in 2009 and the development of the Marine Strategy Regulation to be effective from July 2010.

  1. New Institution:

In 1999 a special post was created, the Secretary of State’s Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention (SOSREP), which has provided an overall command and control of operations during marine emergencies. SOSREP has the power to oversee, control and – if necessary – intervene in salvage operations within UK waters involving vessels or fixed platforms where there is a significant risk of pollution. This was followed in April 2001 by the creation of the Marine Consents and Environment Unit (MCEU) 2001 which has provided a streamlined facility for administering certain applications for marine works consents(SOS, 2002). A related issue was that as the participation of more and different categories of stakeholders was provided for marine decision-making processes, the potential for conflicts in deliberations increased, including challenges concerning the role of ‘science’ and ‘experts’, particularly in relation to the ecosystem approach(Jones, 2006). This raised the need for an executive decision-making body to arbitrate on conflicts and take the final decisions in the face of uncertainty and irreconcilable conflicts, i.e. compromises(Jones, 2006). The Government proposed that a Marine Management Organisation (MMO) might adopt such a role and sets out a number of related issues and options. On the 30th of July 2008, the UK Government responded by establishing the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) as the UK Government’s principal delivery body in the marine area(Defra, 2008). The Government’s vision for the MMO is of a professional and proactive marine manager, trusted by all stakeholders to make a significant contribution to the sustainable development of the marine area(MMO, 2009). The MMO is required to set the standard in the UK and internationally for planning in the marine and coastal environment, so delivering the Government’s commitment to introduce a new framework for the seas that balances conservation, energy and other resource needs. The MMO also is required to make decisions on the majority of marine developments and, where it is not the decision-making body, it will be a key adviser on marine issues for bringing consistency to the decision-making process. As the Government’s principal regulator, as well as its delivery body, the MMO will perform functions on behalf of a number of Government Departments. It is also required to take forward the policy interests of a wide range of Government Departments through its role in developing marine plans. By bringing together marine management activities within a single organisation, the MMO is expected to forge strong links between diverse sectoral activities. By the combination of marine functions the MMO is expected to deliver and facilitate integrated implementation of the Government policy for the marine area. The task of MMO is to integrate more than 47 enactments listed in Schedule One of the Marine Strategy Regulation(MSR, 2009). Also since the MMO is not the sole delivery body for government in the marine area. It will not: propose Marine Conservation Zones, make decisions on oil and gas licensing, licence energy installations greater than 100MW or major ports, deal with navigational safety of shipping or ship-to-ship transfers, deal with protection of maritime heritage except in so far as that is taken into account in marine plans or affect decision made by MMO (MMO, 2009).

  1. Ocean Research Priorities Plan:

In 1999, the UK Parliament devolved many powers to new democratic bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since 1999, each administration has been creating its own solutions to the shared challenges of sustainable development (RMNC, 1999). The marine strategy emphasised the importance of and need for robust scientific research together with effective monitoring and reporting procedures (SOS, 2002). It also recognizes that marine scientific research and knowledge must be fully integrated into policy-making process(SOS, 2002). To effectively apply the precautionary principle the UK begun by mapping of the marine habitats and human effects on the environment in the waters around the UK. The first step in this regard, was a workshop held to explore how best to take seabed mapping initiative forward in the UK. Using a joined up approach to seabed mapping was required to provide for better co-ordination and co-operation as part of the ecosystem-based management approach(SOS, 2002). This included work with the research councils to support high quality scientific research to further support and inform the development of policy to ensure the link between marine scientific research and policy-making. In supporting the development of an ecosystem based approach for managing marine environment the government worked towards optimising the UK’s marine environment monitoring system and developed a framework of indicators, which include the Ecological Quality Objective developments within OSPAR(SOS, 2002), and developed the first integrated assessment of the UK marine environment in 2004(MEMG, 2004). The Marine Environment Monitoring Group assessment has helped the government to demonstrate progress towards the ecosystem-based approach, including the development of procedures to assess the impact of human activities at each level of the marine nature conservation framework to assist in the determination of the appropriate level of response(MEMG, 2004). Also as has been highlighted in the previous section in March 2005 “Charting Progress” (Defra 2005a) provided the first integrated assessment of the state of the seas across the whole of the UK Continental Shelf. The report concluded that although the UK seas are productive and in some areas (such as pollution) the picture is improving, human activities continue to have a significant negative impact on marine species and habitats (SLS, 2005). The joint UK respond in Safeguarding Our Sea Life report highlighted that with climatic change, these impacts will pose a real threat to the balance and integrity of the marine ecosystems(SLS, 2005). Accordingly the UK government made a commitment to use the best available scientific information to identify the elements of marine ecosystems and biodiversity which must be priorities for protection to achieve the UK strategic goals for marine nature conservation (SLS, 2005). Despite all of these efforts the UK until today lack a Marine Science Strategy for identifying high level priority areas for marine science and tackle crosscutting barriers to help deliver the science. This was addressed by the House of Common Science and Technology Committee, Tenth Report of session 2006-07 volume 1. This committee proposed a co-ordinating body which set out a marine scientific strategy for the UK, and recommended that this body should be made of representative from the public, private and university sectors, and that this body should be responsible for co-ordinating, monitoring, advancing, supporting and promoting marine science and technology. In respond to this recommendation Defra and the devolved Administrations established in July 2008 by establishing the Marine Science Coordination Committee (MSCC). To help the UK face up to future marine science challenges and set the direction of travel for future marine science across the UK for the period 2010 to 2025, the first out put of this Committee was the release of a near final UK Marine Science Strategy(MSS) in July 2009 (Defra, 2009).

  1. Legislation:

There are more than 47 enactments in the UK were enacted for different reasons but all of them have provisions related to the conservation and protection of the marine environment including the Marine Nature Reserves (MNRs), which offer limited protection to habitats and species in just a few small scattered areas this include (WWF, 2005):

  • the Habitats Directive, with measures for some wide ranging marine species and the development of the Natura 2000 network of sites (Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), set up under the Habitats Directive, and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) under the Birds Directive), which offer more widespread protection but only in particular circumstances; and
  • Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act providing a mechanism to afford protection to specified marine species.

This is complicated with the fact that there are many different Government Departments including the devolved administrations have responsibility for regulating different activities for protecting the marine environment. Thus, to ensure a self-sustaining ecosystem the UK government worked towards establishing a regulatory framework that can accommodate appropriate human demands and activities(SOS, 2002). For example, in March 2000 a Port Marine Safety Code was published including the publication of a Guide to Good Practice on Marine Operations to support the Code, development of a National standards for all port marine personnel, development of guidance for port operators on development control procedures (SOS, 2002). The UK also introduced domestic legislation with effect from January 1998 covering all places that provide ships with berths (including fishing and pleasure vessels), the development of an Integrated Pollution Prevention Control Directive (IPPC), implementation of the international obligations concerning deposits in the sea by means of the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 (FEPA) (SOS, 2002). To integrate all these acts and international obligations, in May 2005 the Government outlined plans to introduce a Marine Bill which will include provisions for nature conservation and the development of a statutory basis and policy on MCAs in the UK (WWF, 2005). This approach to nature conservation was adopted by the European Union through the Birds and Habitats Directives, and subsequently transposed into the UK domestic statute.

Marine and Costal Access Act

There have been a number of ministerial statements of support for a Marine Bill from the Prime Minister downwards as well as manifesto commitments from the three main parties, and a pledge in the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ Five Year Strategy(Link, 2005). But in May 15, 2005 the powerful alliance of conservation groups the Wildlife and Countryside Link, raised concern that although the Government committed itself to introducing marine legislation in its manifesto there were no timeline has been given and Wildlife and Countryside Link fear further delays will result in long-term damage to UK marine environment and called on the Government to include a Draft Marine Bill in the Queen’s speech during that month. Link wanted legislation to include (Link, 2005):

  • better protection for marine species, nationally important marine wildlife sites and heritage sites;
  • a marine spatial planning system which would help strike a balance between different activities, allowing some to be prioritised in different areas;
  • reform of inshore fisheries management.
  • Integrated, ecosystem approach to marine management

Four years later the Marine and Coastal Access Bill has received Royal Assent on 12 November 2009. ‘Through a Marine Act, the UK will introduce a new framework for the seas, based on marine spatial planning, that balances conservation, energy and resource needs'( Defra, 2009). The Act also includes new systems for managing and protecting the UK coastal and marine waters through:

  • the establishment of a new Marine Management Organisation which will be a centre of marine expertise;
  • a new marine planning system which will enable a more strategic approach to be taken to the use of UK seas;
  • a simpler more streamlined marine licensing system;
  • reform of inshore fisheries management; and
  • better management for migratory and freshwater fisheries.

Marine Strategy Regulations

To complement and implement the Act in November 2009 Defra lunched a consultation process for inviting views on the draft transposing regulations with which the Government and the Devolved Administrations are proposing to transpose the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) which has entered into force in July 2008 and its requirements must be transposed into national law by 15 July 2010. The MSFD requires Member States to develop a marine strategy, including determining Good Environmental Status (GES) for their marine waters, and designing and implementing programmes of measures aimed at achieving it by 2020, using the ecosystem approach to marine management( MSR, 2009). The draft of the MSRs takes account of both socioeconomic factors and the cost of taking action in relation to the scale of the risk to the marine environment ( MSR, 2009). The draft regulations establish a legal framework which assigns duties to the Secretary of State, Welsh and Scottish Ministers and the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland. The MSRs gives the Secretary of State an overall responsibility for developing the UK marine strategy specially in carrying out the assessments, determining GES and setting targets. It gives each competent authority, the authority required to devise its own programme of measures and monitoring arrangements in close coordination with others. It requires that a consent must be sought by each competent authority, where the functions it plans to carry out under the Directive would affect functions which are the responsibility of another competent authority under the relevant Devolution settlement.It stresses the importance of cooperation to secure compliance with the Directive- both regarding the supply of information for overall assessment and monitoring, and the implementation of programmes of measures. It also emphasis that all Public bodies have a general duty to have regard to the marine strategy through which the Directive is implemented ( MSR, 2009).

  1. Integrated Marine Spatial Planning

Until the year 2005 the UK lacked a Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) system required for managing human activities in a joined-up way to ensure the protection of marine wildlife is not neglected(Link, 2005). Also there were no obligation on any regulator to prepare a plan that coordinates and expresses the spatial implications of various proposals, programmes of investment, developments or other changes. There were no system for providing a framework for consistent and coordinated decision making across the sectors. There were no plan or policy framework against which regulators can check all new proposals for compliance. There were no system through which the various regulators of the marine environment can achieve integrated planning. This and the pressure exerted from the expansion of the marine renewable industry adding to demands from existing activities such as offshore oil and gas, aggregate dredging, fishing and shipping (Link, 2005). However, because the UK is committed to meeting various international agreements such as the OSPAR convention (for the protection of marine environment of the North-east Atlantic), and the World Summit on Sustainable Development to implement a coherent network of MPAs, which was seen at that date still someway off. The Marine and Coastal Act 2009 (MCA) addressed this deficit in action by establishing a MMO, MSRs and Regional Seas spatial planning system for selecting, designating and managing a national network of MPAs. UK MSP puts the marine nature conservation within the territorial waters of 12 nautical miles of the shore the responsibility of the relevant Devolved Administration (or the UK Government in the case of England). In offshore waters more than 12 nautical miles from the coast (out to 200 nautical miles or the limits of the UK continental shelf) marine nature conservation is the responsibility of the UK Government. The identification of the Regional seas was based upon biogeographic areas of the sea. These characteristics can make regional seas a useful level for the consideration of marine activities and their impacts on marine ecosystems. The principles of integrated coastal zone management is also used to deal with and better co-ordinate particular pressures of sea use activities on coastal areas. Before implementing MSP in the UK, the Government has piloted and trialled MSP in the Irish Sea, though these were essentially exploratory studies that assessed data availability and mapping issues simulated the development of regional and local plans. Through the Irish Sea Pilot the Review tested a nested framework aimed at addressing marine nature conservation needs at a variety of spatial scales. This marine nature conservation framework has five levels: the Wider Sea; Regional Seas; Marine Landscapes; important marine areas; and priority marine features. These elements represent the different spatial scales required to address the needs of benthic habitats and species, mobile wideranging species, and ecosystem health(RMNC, 2004). The examination highlighted the complex nature of UK marine nature conservation legislation. Also showed that there are many aspects of current UK legislation relating to the marine environment have proved highly effective although there are some deficiencies that need to be addressed to achieve more successful and sustainable cross-sector control of the marine environment and its human activities (RMNC, 2004). The Regional Seas approach provided a meaningful subdivisions of the Wider Sea at the level of medium-scale marine ecosystem, representing biogeographic subdivisions of the Wider Sea (SSL, 2005). They provide an appropriate scale at which to assess marine biological resources, and the physical and chemical processes that these depend on. They also provide a useful scale at which to implement the ecosystem approach in UK waters and, in particular, they can provide an appropriate scale for objective setting, the engagement of regional and local stakeholders, and for broad scale strategic planning(RMNC, 2004).

  1. Maritime Safety and Environment Protection Plan

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is responsible throughout the UK for implementing the Government’s maritime safety policy. That includes co-ordinating search and rescue at sea and checking that ships meet UK and international safety rules. The main functions of MCA is to prevent the loss of lives at the coast and at sea, to ensure that ships are safe and to prevent coastal pollution. Since Lord Donaldson’s 1994 report ‘Safer Ships, Cleaner Seas’ MCA has radically altered its approach to the environmental risks arising from shipping (SOS, 2002). To reduce the risk of accidental discharges the MCA is working to enhance the standard of the world’s shipping fleet and to eliminate substandard operators, through port state control inspections of foreign flagged vessels using the UK ports to ensure that they comply with international standards set by the IMO(SOS, 2002). At the same time MCA is working to ensure the UK flagged ships operate to the highest standards and that all flag states are reminded of their responsibilities under maritime law. This is achieved in the UK by prosecuting those who continue to discharge illegally and this is backed up by the provision of adequate port waste reception facilities to ensure that there is no excuse for discharging ship waste during sea passages (SOS, 2002). The UK government preventive measures also include Response arrangements to maritime casualties to ensure that environmental considerations are fully taken into account specially during salvage and clean-up operations. More further the UK government is working to ensure that an adequate compensation is made available, with the minimum delay, to those who suffer economically following a pollution incident caused by a ship. For ensuring safety the UK has developed the Port Marine Safety Code with all sides of the industry, the Code was published in March 2000 and it represent a national standard and a guide to best practice(SOS, 2002). It also offers a framework for harbour authorities preparing policies and plans in consultation with local users and other interests. For enhancing safety of navigation the government implement a comprehensive shipping surveys system and has designed Routing measures to make shipping around the UK safer by protecting the marine and coastal environment. Including the establishment of Traffic Separation Scheme in the English Channel, and a number of Areas To Be Avoided (including those located around the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands); Compulsory reporting measures are also in place in the Channel(SOS, 2002). The UK has actively supported the mandatory carriage by IMO regulation of transponders which will allow the Coastguard to identify and monitor all shipping movements around the UK coasts. Other environmental measures include Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) which provides analysis and evaluation of the environmental effects of a proposed policy, plan or programme. Ratification of the OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic and is a contracting party to it. Applications of the precautionary principle, the polluter pays principle, BAT and BEP. OSPAR has developed and put in place five strategies to direct its work in the medium to long term(SOS, 2002).

  1. Maritime Surveillance and Security Plan

Since the Safeguarding Our Seas strategy, the Safeguarding Sea life respond, the Marine and Coastal Act and the Marine Strategy Regulations have been all designed for conservation and environmental reasons, maritime surveillance and security are not addressed by all theses documents. However, the Safeguarding our Seas strategy recognizes that the Aerial surveillance plays a significant role in identifying and deterring marine pollution by ships. Highlighting that the UK share satellite information with other states which are Contracting Parties to the Bonn Agreement. In fact the Working Group recommended that the Government should ensure that mechanisms are in place to deliver enforcement arrangements capable of supporting any legislation underpinning the framework.

  1. Maritime Sector Development Plan

Since the Marine and Coastal Act is designed to offer an opportunity for the sustainable development of this environment in addressing the use and protection of marine resources with a sustainable economic and social benefit (MCA, 2009). This signals a shift in the Act from an idea of sustainability as primarily ecological, to one that also emphasizes the economic and social context of development and states that the sustainable development is a guiding principal, referring to the general definition of sustainable development adopted from the Brundtland Report definition of sustainable development (development that meets the needs of the present without comprising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs). On the other hand Safeguarding Our Seas strategy highlighted that currently most commercial activities within the marine environment are already regulated at the UK or devolved administrative level. This includes industries such as aggregates extraction, port development and renewable energy, which are managed through consenting regimes(SOS, 2002).

  1. Marine Education and Training Plan
  1. National Maritime Information Center

The Working Group recommended that the Government should establish a coordinated UK-wide marine information network, and should facilitate the continued involvement of stakeholder interests in the development of proposals arising from this Review(RMNC, 2004). The government respond highlighted that the four administrations recognise that limited data availability is a major obstruction to effective understanding of the seas, particularly in relation to biological data. To address this the Inter-Agency Committee on Marine Science and Technology (IACMST) has been asked to develop proposals for data collation and management. In addition, a Marine Environment Data and Information (MEDIN) Partnership has been established to provide a national forum for harmonised stewardship and access to marine data and information. This is designed to facilitate improved management of the seas around the UK. The programme board for the Marine Environment Data and Information Partnership will be chaired by Defra’s chief scientific adviser. The Marine Environmental Data and Information Network (MEDIN) promotes sharing of, and improved access to, these data. It is an open partnership and its partners represent government departments, research institutions and private companies. The Marine data are held by many organisations in the UK and are collected for many different purposes:

  • for the timing of tides to determine the position of submerged obstacles
  • about the position of submerged obstacles
  • for marine conservation
  • to monitor and forecast weather and ocean states
  • to site marine structures
  • for scientific research to understand marine processes
  1. National Oceans Forum

The MEDIN Partners Forum is an annual open partners meeting to review MEDIN activities and discuss issues of relevance and interest. The network is funded by a consortium of fifteen organisations. There are also MEDIN partners who are not necessarily sponsors but are organisations contributing to the work of MEDIN. MEDIN reports directly to the Marine Science Coordination Committee (MSCC) (previously the Inter Agency Committee on Marine Science and Technology (IACMST)(MEDIN, 2009).

  1. International Cooperation:

The UK plays an active role at the international and regional level and within the United Nations, its agencies, regional fisheries organisations and conventions, and marine science organisations. To press for greater cooperation and co-ordination between countries The UK government used the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), held in Johannesburg, South Africa, to emphasise the contribution that sustainable marine management can make to food security, poverty eradication and wider development objectives(SOS, 2002). The UK has taken a leading role in supporting the implementation and development of the Washington Global Programme of Action (GPA) and associated Washington Declaration, which was adopted by 108 governments in 1995 in Washington, USA(SOS, 2002). The GPA is designed as a framework for integrated, multi-sectoral action to be drawn upon by national governments to assist them in protecting the marine environment from the consequences of land-based activities. Also the UK played a lead role in persuading the IMO to agree to the designation of North West European waters – including the North Sea, the English Channel, the Irish Sea and other UK waters – as a Special Area under Annex I of MARPOL (covering prevention of pollution by oil) and for the North Sea to be designated a Special Area under Annex V of MARPOL (covering prevention of pollution by garbage from ships) (SOS, 2002).

  1. Funding:

The Joint Committee and public consultation responses raised concerns that adequate funding should be allocated to allow successful implementation of the MMO, marine planning, Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs) and the coastal path(Summary of responses, 2008). The Government respond stressed that the Government recognises the importance of ensuring its policy proposals are properly coasted, receive the funding to make them effective and are affordable within existing spending review settlements. It further states that it will ensure that this is the case for all measures in the draft Bill. The coast of the Marine and Coastal Act implementation is estimated at an average annual total in the range of £42 million to £82 million. The total present value costs over 20 years are estimated to be in the range of £751 million to £1.6 billion(Jones, 2009). The average annual benefits of the marine related industry and the environment are estimated in the range of £756 million – £1.7 billion per year. The total present value benefits over 20 years are estimated at being in the range of £8.7 billion to £19.6 billion. Marine Nature Conservation provisions account for the vast majority of the costs and benefits(Jones, 2009).

Lessons learned

Whatever is the political system is organized within the State and despite the different routes (Policy and legislative) or modalities, the principles and objectives of all these oceans policies and legislations or Acts are largely similar. All these countries recognise the major contribution made by sea-based activities to their economy, they all acknowledge that the intensive development of these activities poses a challenge to sustainable development and use of their sea resources. And they have all decided to develop an overall holistic national oceans policy that allows a comprehensive, coordinated approach, ensuring sustainable development of the different sea resources and activities. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia can learn from many countries that have gone ahead in developing an integrated national ocean policies, especially those furthest along: Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. If the Kingdom wants to produce a meaningful changes to national marine governance, it should avoid the mistakes—and copy the successes—of these countries. The three countries have started developing their ocean policy process during the last five years of the 20th Century and each country have used a different route to sustainable oceans policy. This means integrated oceans policy concept is a relatively new flexible international concept of sustainable development. Thus Saudi Arabia can work and learns from their experiences.

The first lesson comes from Australia by adopting a comprehensive approach to include all management activities highlighted in Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 and the use of partnership and cooperative arrangements for the development of an integrated management of marine resources. To achieve this objective AOP established a new governance comprising a high policy umbrella the National Ocean Ministerial Board, a National Oceans Office and Regional Steering Groups as a way for organizing stakeholders—governmental, nongovernmental, regional, and federal along with clear interest in conservation of marine resources and development of economic and social benefits. This is a reasonable approach for Saudi Arabia since the Kingdom overlooks two different strategic rich seas: the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf and both have different ecological, economic and social values. The biodiversity status of both seas have enormously rich economic resources that if sustainably used and harvested will create a real sustainable development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. So what is required is a new integrated approach to the management of these rich resources. This new approach needs special governance and new national approach for the management and conservation of these resources. In fact, every region needs to be divided into subregions to ensure the protection of marine biodiversity of both seas. For example the north part of the Red Sea is different from the southern part and there is a climatic, geographic and ecological reasons for this division. Also this regional approach is already being used by the Government of Saudi Arabia spatial planning system and provincial arrangements, but it needs to include the marine ecological features in order to be sustainable. There for to achieve this objective the Kingdom needs to establish a new comprehensive national marine policy framework under high policy umbrella designed to build cooperation through a stakeholder-driven regional marine planning process and then to develop ways to implement this as the process progresses. Another interesting clear difference between AOP and COP and UK marine strategy is that: AOP is more comprehensive it includes not only conservation and environmental plan but also includes development of a Marine Science Strategy and a Marine Industry Strategy. These two strategies made AOP more comprehensive than COP and the UK Marine Strategy where both mostly concentrated on providing the legal governance for stake holder participation in the management, conservation and environmental protection. The RMP Steering Committees, appointed by the NOMB, are comprised of regional nongovernment and government stakeholders. A major problem with AOP is that it has little legislative backing; it does not have or grant sufficient authority to government agencies. The National Ocean Ministerial Board does not have authority over agencies outside of its membership, and cannot impose legal penalties for noncompliance. The NOMB is politically appointed; potentially its membership could completely change every three years.

The second lesson comes from Canada Oceans Policy, COP first concentrated on national jurisdiction and sovereign rights over the different maritime areas and developing the legal frame work for developing such a policy to ensure a proper integrated oceans governance for the management of national marine resources and second by developing COS to implement an integrated management planning system including MPA which considers ecosystem integrity and protection while considering economic and social issue by engaging citizens and promoting public awareness and stewardship. COA indicates the need for developing an overall national oceans governance to properly integrate economic, social and environmental factors. Thus Saudi Arabia needs to develop an overall national marine governance for all maritime areas including the EEZ and the continental shelf.

The third lesson comes from the UK Marine Strategy which has concentrated on developing a conservation based strategy using a legislative framework, by enacting the Marine and coastal Access Act for introducing a new organizational and management mechanism to make provision in relation to marine functions and activities; to make provision about migratory and freshwater fish; to make provision for and in connection with the establishment of an English coastal walking route for ensuring rights of access to land near the English coast. To put all these instruments into effect and implementation the UK prepared the Marine Strategy Regulations expected to come into force on 15th July 2010 (MSR, 2009). Since this comprehensive oceans policy and the development of an overall national marine governance must include a conservation management strategy and mechanism. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia needs to develop its new oceans policy and governance frame work by giving a considerable attention to conservation by designating Marine Conservation Areas and establishment of a new marine function similar to the UK Marine Management Organization.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia can learns many other lessons from each country development process and experience. At the same time there are many shared similarities between them that the Kingdom must develop and adopt if accepted the need of developing an integrated national maritime strategy, most importantly:

  • Political willpower is required in order to develop an ocean policy.
  • Establishment of a high policy umbrella such as a Maritime Ministerial Boards to oversee consultation and coordination process.
  • Special attention to public consultation with all stakeholders, including the development of mechanisms or processes required for involving the communities and stakeholders
  • Development of Marine scientific research development priorities plan.
  • Development and enactment of a National Maritime legal framework for all maritime zones including EEZ and the continental shelf including the regulatory reforms of related sectoral laws necessary for the integrated management of the oceans.
  • Creation of a new Department or tasking an existing Ministry or agency of the government, so as to lead the development of an ocean policy. This body should be located at a high level within the government, or structured so that it can exercise effective influence on other government entities as well as across levels of government and throughout relevant civil society sectors.
  • Development of Marine spatial planning system including (MPA and MCA).
  • Establishment of Regional Marine Development Authorities.
  • Monitoring and surveillance arrangements.
  • Development of Marine education and training plan.
  • Establishment of a National marine information center.
  • National marine forum and community stewardship programs to achieve these objectives, citizens should be educated though public information campaigns, websites and other means.
  • International and regional cooperation.
  • Provision of a special Grant and sufficient funding mechanisms to develop the policy.
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Sustainable maritime development process. (2017, Jun 26). Retrieved February 6, 2023 , from

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