What is the nature and extent of evidence on methodologies for monitoring and evaluating marine spatial management measures in UK and similar coastal waters? A systematic map protocol


Anthropogenic degradation of marine ecosystems is widely accepted as a major social-ecological problem. The growing urgency to better manage marine ecosystems has led to the increasing application of ‘spatial management measures’ including marine protected areas, sectoral (e.g. fishery) closures, and marine spatial planning. However, the designation of varied spatial management regimes is just the first step; achievement of objectives relies upon effective implementation, monitoring, evaluation and adaptation. Despite spatial management being a core component of the marine management portfolio, to our knowledge, there is no systematic overview of the evidence on methodologies available, and employed, to monitor and evaluate their effectiveness across social, economic and ecological outcomes.


This systematic map will examine existing evidence describing methodologies for monitoring the effects, and evaluating the effectiveness, of marine spatial management across ecological, social and economic outcomes. Our aim is to provide a resource for decision-makers, primarily in the UK but also internationally, that supports effective marine management, and to describe the current evidence base. Identification and evaluation of relevant studies will therefore be restricted to coastal countries identified by our Stakeholder Group as being relevant to the UK, and searches will be restricted to the period 2009 to 2019 to align with the current UK policy context. Searches for relevant grey and academic literature, published in English, will be conducted in four bibliographic search engines, Google Scholar, 38 organisational websites and one specialist data repository. Eligibility screening will be conducted first at title and abstract level, and then at full text. Coding and meta-data extraction from eligible studies will include: bibliographic information, general information about the spatial management measure studied, and methodological information on the monitoring and evaluation undertaken. Consistency checking amongst reviewers will be undertaken during screening, coding and data extraction phases. The outcome of the systematic map will be a database that displays the meta-data of identified relevant studies. Findings will be presented in a descriptive report detailing the evaluation approaches and analytical methodologies employed, and data collection methods applied and/or data required by relevant studies to inform evaluations on the effectiveness of marine spatial management measures.


Fishery closures, Fishery exclusion zones, No-take zones, Marine protected areas, Marine reserves, Marine spatial planning, Maritime planning, MPAs, Policy evaluation

In Progress