The ICES Working Group for Marine Planning and Coastal Zone Management (WGMPCZM) has developed a method for identifying places of cultural importance on the coast and in the sea. Understanding what is valued by people in a marine context is important to mitigate potential conflicts between uses.
Termed the "culturally significant areas (CSA) concept", this approach establishes what is valued by people, where these values are located, when in time they are relevant and to whom. Cultural values may include traditions, recreation, inspiration, knowledge and the beauty of the landscape and seascape, among others. Once identified, CSAs can be subjected to a risk management approach, based on establishing the key qualities that are needed to sustain each CSA, and the risks that various developments might pose to these qualities.
To highlight these issues, ICES conducted a workshop named 'Working with culturally significant areas in maritime spatial planning' at the 2nd Baltic Maritime Spatial Planning Forum in Riga on 23 November. Wojciech Wawrzynski, ICES Head of Science Support Department, opened the work session by providing introductory background information on socio-economic developments in the organization's science, on relevant working groups, and on the Human Dimension Strategic Initiative.
The workshop was chaired by Andreas Kannen and Kira Gee from WGMPCZM. It not only presented the concept of CSAs, but also some pilot applications, with the intention of discussing whether and how the approach might be incorporated into actual marine spatial planning (MSP) processes and decision-making. The aim was to consider the opportunities and constraints of the CSA approach as perceived by practitioners, helping to develop the concept further and move it towards an operational phase. Participants were asked to think of practical opportunities and limitations of the CSA concept, and of potential application of it in MSP practice.
The timing of the workshop coincided with the publication of the latest ICES Cooperative Research Report (CRR): 'Multidisciplinary perspectives in the use (and misuse) of science and scientific advice in Marine Spatial Planning' The report summarizes expert papers on marine spatial planning, and includes topics such as multidisciplinary research approaches.