Marine spatial planning is becoming an increasingly utilized tool for ocean management due to its dynamic, holistic approach to balancing marine uses for sustainability. Countries across Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Oceania have already designed and implemented marine plans that have generated more efficient and sustainable participation in ocean activities. The European Commission’s 2008 Marine Strategy Framework Directive to protect the region’s marine resources was followed up in 2014 by a further Directive to establish a framework for MSP in all member states. Many EU countries have already been pro-active in adopting MSP practices with implementations in Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Belgium the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom. The United States, by executive order, established in 2010 a National Ocean Policy and National Ocean Council with directives to implement MSP in nine coastal regions. Several states have already pursued MSP for their state-controlled coastal waters.
These international and large-nation initiatives indicate the significance of MSP in ocean management strategy. Furthermore, examples in St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, and the Shetland Islands show that these large-scale methods can be adapted to the smaller scale of island communities. In some instances, these are implemented simply in terms of fisheries and conservation areas. With more economic development, these plans necessarily incorporate other uses such a shipping, energy and tourism.