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Managing Deep-sea Ecosystems at Ocean Basin Scale

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Front. Mar. Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00069

Rockall and Hatton: resolving a super wicked marine governance problem in the high seas of the northeast Atlantic Ocean

  • 1Seascape Consultants Ltd, United Kingdom
  • 2Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), United Kingdom
  • 3Department of Coastal Systems, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Netherlands
  • 4Marine Scotland, United Kingdom
  • 5University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

The Hatton-Rockall plateau in the northeast Atlantic Ocean has long been the subject of interest for fishers, prospectors, conservationists, managers, planners and politicians. As a feature that straddles national and international waters, it is subject to a multitude of competing and confounding regulations, making the development of a holistic management plan for sustainable use fraught with difficulty. Here, the various stakeholders in the area are collated, together with the rules they have created or must abide by with respect to biodiversity assets, maritime resources and governance frameworks. Blue Growth envisages optimal use of sea areas, including potential for additional commercial activities. Current research and stakeholder engagement efforts to achieve this integration are described, and the contribution of the EU-funded ATLAS project is analysed. In particular, more precise, ground-truthed information has the potential to inform systematic conservation planning, providing the basis for sustainable development and improving adaptive management. By scrutinising and exposing all the elements in this example of a spatially managed area we show how the expectations of each stakeholder can be better managed.

Keywords: Blue growth, Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAFM), Ecologically or biologically significant area (EBSA), areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ)

Received: 18 Oct 2018; Accepted: 07 Feb 2019.

Edited by:

DANIELA ZEPPILLI, Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER), France

Reviewed by:

Silvia Bianchelli, Polytechnical University of Marche, Italy
Igor Fernández-Urruzola, Millennium Institute of Oceanography, University of Concepción, Chile  

Copyright: © 2019 Johnson, Barrio Froján, Neat, Van Oevelen, Stirling, Gubbins and Roberts. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. David E. Johnson, Seascape Consultants Ltd, Southampton, United Kingdom,