Events & Media



"Ecosystem-based management in Norway:
pioneering implementation of regional-scale marine spatial planning"

Erik Olsen
Principal Scientist
Institute of Marine Research
Bergen, Norway
Visiting Scientist
Northeast Fisheries Science Center
Woods Hole, Massachusetts

Wednesday, April 29, 2015
3:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Bren Hall 1414

"Norway has been a global leader in doing marine spatial planning. Erik's talk offers a great opportunity to learn about what has been happening there."

— Ben Halpern, Bren School faculty host

Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is seen as a practical way to implement marine ecosystem-based management. Development varies globally, with Europe and Australia in the lead. The U.S. is lacking integration between legislation and executive levels and is lagging behind in development, but some regions, e.g. the Northeast and the Pacific states, are forging ahead with regional planning efforts. Research projects and UN institutions like UNESCO have developed guidance both to develop the science base for MSP and plan development. Norway was an early implementer of MSP, with integrated management plans in place since 2006. Three regional plans have been implemented in Norway, two of which have been revised. The Norwegian experiences will be discussed in relation to international developments of both the science base and governance of MSP processes.

Erik Olsen has worked for the Institute of Marine Research, in Bergen, Norway, since 1999, focusing primarily on issues related to ecosystem-based monitoring, assessment, and management. He developed and led the implementation of ecosystem surveys conducted in the Barents Sea with a team of Russian scientists, and used surveys and development programs to transfer the concepts to such developing nations as Mozambique and Sudan.

Dr. Olsen was deeply involved in developing and laying the groundwork to implement the Norwegian Integrated Management plans, first for the Barents Sea, then the Norwegian Sea, and finally the North Sea. This groundbreaking work in ecosystem-based marine spatial planning has caught worldwide attention, and Dr. Olsen has spoken about it at many high-level scientific and government meetings, including at the United Nations.

From 2009-2013 Dr. Olsen served as elected chair of the ICES Science Committee Steering Group on Human Interactions on the Ecosystem. At Woods Hole, he continues his research on developing the science base, tools, and methods for ecosystem-based management and marine spatial planning. In key areas of study he examines the use of quantitative tools, such as the Atlantis ecosystem model, and analyzes how ecosystem-based governance varies globally. Understanding the interactions between the socio-cultural-economic system on one hand and the ecological science needed to support sound management on the other is at the core of his current research.

Dr. Olsen received his PhD in fisheries biology, his MSc in fisheries biology, and his BSc in biologyfrom the University of Bergen.

NOTE: Research colloquia are hosted by Bren faculty members and are generally high-level talks about research in a particular area of environmental science and management.


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