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Environment & Science

New study promotes marine spatial planning

An example of marine spatial planning with wind turbines in the Batlic Sea
An example of marine spatial planning with wind turbines in the Batlic Sea
Joern Pollex/Getty Images

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A new study conducted by scientists at UC Santa Barbara, focuses on how people map out the sea for things like conservation, energy use and fishing. It's a practice called 'marine spatial planning" and it has received increased attention over the last few years.

The study attempts to find middle ground between the costly logistical problems of large energy companies seeking to utilize wind turbine technology and the environmental concerns of groups potentially affected by their location, such as fisherman.

But there are always bound to be dissatisfied groups. The study looks at a wind farm off of the coast of Massachusetts. Those who were dissatisfied with the placement included the whale watching industry, lobsterman, flounder fisherman and casual beach goers.

"There are always trade-offs," Krug says, "the only group upset no matter what location would be the flounder fisherman." They're concerned about losing money.

In the near future California will have to start marine spatial planning, after a national mandate was issued.


Pat Krug is a marine biologist and professor at Cal State Los Angeles.