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Dynamic ocean management: Defining and conceptualizing real-time management of the ocean


  • Maxwell, Sara M.
  • Hazen, Elliott L.
  • Lewison, Rebecca L.
  • Dunn, Daniel C.
  • Bailey, Helen
  • Bograd, Steven J.
  • Briscoe, Dana K.
  • Fossette, Sabrina
  • Hobday, Alistair J.
  • Bennett, Meredith
  • Benson, Scott
  • Caldwell, Margaret R.
  • Costa, Daniel P.
  • Dewar, Heidi
  • Eguchi, Tomo
  • Hazen, Lucie
  • Kohin, Suzanne
  • Sippel, Tim
  • Crowder, Larry B.


Most spatial marine management techniques (e.g., marine protected areas) draw stationary boundaries around often mobile marine features, animals, or resource users. While these approaches can work for relatively stationary marine resources, to be most effective marine management must be as fluid in space and time as the resources and users we aim to manage. Instead, a shift towards dynamic ocean management is suggested, defined as management that rapidly changes in space and time in response to changes in the ocean and its users through the integration of near real-time biological, oceanographic, social and/or economic data. Dynamic management can refine the temporal and spatial scale of managed areas, thereby better balancing ecological and economic objectives. Temperature dependent habitat of a hypothetical mobile marine species was simulated to show the efficiency of dynamic management, finding that 82.0 to 34.2 percent less area needed to be managed using a dynamic approach. Dynamic management further complements existing management by increasing the speed at which decisions are implemented using predefined protocols. With advances in data collection and sharing, particularly in remote sensing, animal tracking, and mobile technology, managers are poised to apply dynamic management across numerous marine sectors. Existing examples demonstrate that dynamic management can successfully allow managers to respond rapidly to changes on-the-water, however to implement dynamic ocean management widely, several gaps must be filled. These include enhancing legal instruments, incorporating ecological and socioeconomic considerations simultaneously, developing ‘out-of-the-box’ platforms to serve dynamic management data to users, and developing applications broadly across additional marine resource sectors.

Suggested Citation

  • Maxwell, Sara M. & Hazen, Elliott L. & Lewison, Rebecca L. & Dunn, Daniel C. & Bailey, Helen & Bograd, Steven J. & Briscoe, Dana K. & Fossette, Sabrina & Hobday, Alistair J. & Bennett, Meredith & Bens, 2015. "Dynamic ocean management: Defining and conceptualizing real-time management of the ocean," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 42-50.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:marpol:v:58:y:2015:i:c:p:42-50
    DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2015.03.014

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Moore, Jeffrey E. & Wallace, Bryan P. & Lewison, Rebecca L. & Zydelis, Ramúnas & Cox, Tara M. & Crowder, Larry B., 2009. "A review of marine mammal, sea turtle and seabird bycatch in USA fisheries and the role of policy in shaping management," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 435-451, May.
    2. Foley, Melissa M. & Halpern, Benjamin S. & Micheli, Fiorenza & Armsby, Matthew H. & Caldwell, Margaret R. & Crain, Caitlin M. & Prahler, Erin & Rohr, Nicole & Sivas, Deborah & Beck, Michael W. & Carr,, 2010. "Guiding ecological principles for marine spatial planning," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 955-966, September.
    3. Rita Curtis & Robert L. Hicks, 2000. "The Cost of Sea Turtle Preservation: The Case of Hawaii's Pelagic Longliners," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1191-1197.
    4. Crowder, Larry & Norse, Elliott, 2008. "Essential ecological insights for marine ecosystem-based management and marine spatial planning," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 772-778, September.
    5. Ban, Natalie C. & Maxwell, Sara M. & Dunn, Daniel C. & Hobday, Alistair J. & Bax, Nicholas J. & Ardron, Jeff & Gjerde, Kristina M. & Game, Edward T. & Devillers, Rodolphe & Kaplan, David M. & Dunstan,, 2014. "Better integration of sectoral planning and management approaches for the interlinked ecology of the open oceans," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 127-136.
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