One of the most controversial subjects that affects saltwater fishing is marine spatial planning, In the USA and other nations around the world, efforts are ongoing to regulate oceans, bays and other areas where saltwater fishing is practiced.
Spatial planning often results in loss of access for user groups, with recreational anglers, commercial fishermen, divers and others often the first be banned from entering regulated areas. These come in the form of limited access areas (LAA) marine sanctuaries, reserves, marine protected areas (MPA) and other closed areas.
Marine spatial planning (MSP) is defined by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as a “public and political process of analyzing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic and social objectives.”
In the United States, the National Ocean Council (NOC) proposes to implement MSP through a series of regional programs. In June, 2011, the National Ocean Council will be holding a national workshop for government agencies to develop the government’s MSP Strategic Action Plan.