This study explores future growth scenarios in the Celtic Seas and the resulting impacts on environmental, social and economic conditions. The purpose was to explore the need for integrated marine management for the future environmental integrity of the Celtic Seas and the socio-economic well-being that it supports. Future scenarios were developed and applied to selected marine sectors to demonstrate the different possible changes in the scale and nature of human activities over the next twenty years (2017–2036), and to provide the opportunity for discussion of possible future trade-offs and synergies.
Questions this practice may help answer:
- How can future trends be taken into consideration in a transnational MSP exercise?
- What type of scenarios can be developed to take future trends in maritime sectors into consideration in an MSP process?
- What are some innovative and engaging ways of presenting scenarios?
Future trends reports were developed with an aim to support integrated marine management for the future environmental integrity of the Celtic Seas. The online scenarios allow interested stakeholders to explore trends and their associated impacts in various sectors relevant in the transnational maritime context. Conclusions drawn from the study are meant to advise future integrated marine management initiatives, including the cross-border aspects of the ongoing MSP processes in the involved countries.
Aspects / Objectives:
The aim of the future trends analysis was to explore the need for integrated marine management for the future environmental integrity of the Celtic Seas and the socio-economic well-being that it supports. Three future scenarios were developed to demonstrate the different possible changes in the scale and nature of human activities over the next twenty years. Scenarios described the main social, economic and environmental factors driving change. The purpose of employing more than one scenario was to demonstrate the extent of potential interactions and impacts under alternative possible futures, in order to stimulate debate around the nature of future activities and the trade-offs and solutions that may emerge.
The methodology followed an incremental step-wise approach. First step was to compile a baseline of the environmental conditions and marine sector activities and to draft the scenarios. Stakeholder engagement was central to the project approach, with feedback on the baseline and draft scenarios being a key element. The baseline information was reviewed by industry experts in one-to-one interviews to verify its accuracy.
Three different future scenarios were developed combining information from the workshops and the review of marine activities. One scenario was ‘Business as Usual’, while the other two were based on the National Ecosystem Assessment scenarios ‘Nature at Work’ and ‘Local Stewardship’ which reflected stakeholders’ ideal future. The scenarios encompassed ten selected marine sectors, as well as nature conservation (implementation of marine protected areas and management measures within them) to demonstrate the different possible changes in the scale and nature of human activities over the next twenty years. The sectors included: aquaculture, aggregates, commercial fisheries, oil & gas, ports & shipping, coastal defence, tourism & recreation, offshore wind and tidal power.
Interviews were carried out with stake holders to discuss the scenarios and their consequences. The social, economic and environmental impacts (positive and negative) were assessed for each sector under each scenario, through quantitative (where possible) and qualitative approaches. Maps and written descriptions of the future scenarios were made and presented to stakeholders to check whether the projections were plausible and if they reflected a reasonable expectation of the developments under each scenario. Comments were taken into account and the results were used to look at the interaction between sectors, potential impacts on the environment and hotspots where a number of activities were predicted to overlap in the same space.
A matrix was compiled as a result of cross-cutting analysis which looked at positive and negative interactions between sectors. Negative interactions relate to competition for space, where development of one sector may lead to exclusion or displacement of another. A considerable range of positive interactions between sectors relate to the interlinkages between sectors where growth in one sector contributes to growth in another (e.g. development of tidal lagoons requiring higher levels of extraction of marine aggregate for their construction), or co-location of compatible activities, to ensure the most efficient use of marine space.
Conclusions were drawn out based on the baseline, scenarios and analysis to address the following:
- What are the key future trends in the Celtic Seas under the scenarios, and the associated economic, social and environmental impacts?
- What are the key interactions and opportunities?
- Is there a need for marine management in the Celtic Seas?
- What are the key features of marine management that are needed to address concerns and maximise opportunities?
As part of the conclusion, the study pointed out aspects that are important for marine management in the Celtic Seas: 1) Integrated approach taking into account economic, social and environmental concerns; 2) Transboundary approach; 3) Spatial planning; 4) A robust evidence base; 5) Stakeholder engagement.
The lesson learned from this process is that expectation management is an important aspect that is often overlooked, while it should preferably include allocation of more time and set aside resources for stakeholder engagement and the dissemination of key results.
The use of visualization tools is also important as it allows for easy understanding, and better informs stakeholders of important information that guides goals, visions, among others. The main visualisation tool was an interactive presentation of scenarios available online for all interested stakeholders.
Main Outputs / Results:
Future trends reports and scenarios integrated in the interactive online platform
Future trends report and scenarios were developed for the Celtic seas’ transnational context. Methods and tools used in this practice, are thus, best transferable to similar geographical and governance contexts, while their application may also be suitable for other contexts or topics.
University of Liverpool
Costs / Funding Source:
University of Liverpool