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Coastal planning

MI to launch marine spatial planning master's program for fall 2016

Teaching and Learning

By Leslie Earle

As a province surrounded by water, Newfoundland and Labrador is heavily dependent on its coastal spaces.

Whether for recreation and boating, fishing and processing, marine transportation or oil and gas, the demands are growing. With so much reliance on these ocean areas, the need for effective marine spatial planning and management has never been more important.

First of its kind

In September, a new master of marine studies in marine spatial planning and management will launch at the Fisheries and Marine Institute (MI). It’s the first graduate level program of its kind in Canada and will provide graduates the opportunity to influence, lead and provide decision-making support for the management and planning of increasingly busy coastal and ocean spaces.

“Marine spatial planning is an emerging and important field that is gaining prominence as global demands on our coastal spaces and oceans increase,” said Carey Bonnell, head, School of Fisheries, MI. “We want to position our graduates to apply technology-supported knowledge and expertise and provide the best advice to sustain and use our marine resources.”

The program requires 30 credit hours of study and will be taught primarily online. Students will complete one core on-campus course, plus some on-campus electives, and will have the option for either an internship or research project as part of the program.

Courses will focus on governance, policy/legislative, ecological, socio-economic, cultural and technological elements of sustainable ocean and coastal zone development, planning and management. Students enrolled in the program will also study the mapping and analysis of human activities and environmental features as part of planning environmentally/economically sustainable use of coastal and marine environments.

“Their role becomes significant when they can suggest solutions where different mandates and interests in our coastal and ocean resources exist.” — Geoff Couglan

Geoff Coughlan, an instructor with MI’s School of Fisheries, notes that students will also learn conflict management and facilitation skills to effectively engage coastal and ocean regulators and stakeholders. They will also focus on project management and the use of geospatial technology.

“We expect graduates to work in government agencies, environmental non-governmental organizations, coastal and ocean industry sectors and consulting companies where they will work as marine planners or coastal and marine managers,” he said.  “Their role becomes significant when they can suggest solutions where different mandates and interests in our coastal and ocean resources exist.”

Recruitment for the program, which was developed with input from international marine spatial planning experts, is well underway and will be of interest to those with biology, geography, environmental studies, ocean mapping or coastal and ocean management/industry backgrounds.

Classes begin in September 2016. More information about courses, admission requirements and how to apply are available at www.mi.mun.ca/msp.

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