Promoting ancillary conservation through marine spatial planning

Ateret Shabtay, Michelle Portman, Elisabetta Manea, Elena Gissi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The term Other Effective Conservation Measures (OECMs) refers to areas which are not protected areas and yet significantly contribute to conservation; they were recently defined by the Convention on Biological Diversity. Efforts to address the designation of OECMs include further definition of the term and the development of typologies of OECMs and of screening tools which can be applied to identify potential OECMs. While the designation process of OECMs is still unclear, especially in the marine environment, we suggest a decision process which can be used by planners to identify and designate specific types of OECMs as part of the marine spatial planning (MSP) process. These OECMs are areas where marine communities benefit from access restrictions established due to safety or security concerns. We applied the suggested process on two case studies of the Italian Northern Adriatic and the Israeli Mediterranean seas. When consideration of OECMs comes at the expense of designating marine protected areas, OECMs can become controversial. However, OECM designation can promote achievement of marine conservation goals and of ecosystem-based management of uses. Therefore, we suggest that while spatial targets for conservation should focus mainly on areas dedicated for marine reserves, OECMs, especially of the type for ancillary conservation discussed in this paper, can be achieved through MSP. Using MSP for the designation of recognized OECMs may significantly promote marine conservation goals in unexpected ways and may ¬help realize ecosystem-based management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1753-1763
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2019


  • Decision support tools
  • Marine conservation
  • Marine infrastructures
  • Marine spatial planning
  • OECM

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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