For several decades Canada has been interested and worked in developing a strategy for managing its marine and coastal areas. After Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) did not generate the expected results, today, Canada sees in Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) a renewed opportunity to move towards integrated coastal and ocean management. However, implementing MSP involves various challenges, such as the meaningful inclusion of local stakeholders in the planning process, the strengthening of the Canadian practical experience concerning MSP, the development of local level capabilities in MSP, and informing and educating stakeholders regarding MSP. In addition to these challenges, it is essential to develop an MSP strategy that considers the land-sea interactions (LSI).
Marine and terrestrial ecosystems are closely linked. The natural processes and human uses inland have repercussions on the marine systems and vice versa. Many marine uses, such as fishing, need supporting installations on land, while some uses existing on land, for example, tourism, expand their activities into the sea. This land-sea connection can also see through some natural processes. For instance, while hurricanes are mainly ocean processes, their effects can have notable repercussions on coastal and inland zones. Sediment transportation is an example that can occur in the oppositive direction. Because of the action of rivers, winds, and rain runoff, the sediments of terrestrial zones can be transported to coastal-marine areas causing erosion in the first ones and sediment deposition in the second. Therefore, a responsible planning should consider the implications that these processes and uses in wheatear land or marine environments can have in its counterpart.
A question then arises: How can MSP address land-sea interactions if it is limited to marine space? A possible solution for Canada is to extend the remit of MSP inland. This is technically possible as the spatial approach of MSP can also be applied to the coastal zone and the MSP theoretical foundations are similar to ICZM, which was, for many years, the predominant strategy for managing the Canadian coastal zone. However, addressing land-sea interactions through MSP requires multi-level governance arrangements and new forms of policy integration.
An MSP challenge in addressing land-sea interactions implies dealing with governmental fragmentation. With some exemptions of agencies (e.g., Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Environment and Climate Change Canada) that influence both marine and coastal spaces, terrestrial and marine areas regulation in Canada is split among several governmental agencies with different hierarchical levels and functions. This division of responsibilities allows having specialized entities with the capacity to provide specific solutions and accurate responses according to a target population. However, it also generates a disconnection problem in the government structure. This fragmentation problem could limit addressing land-sea interactions in at least two ways: 1. Causing a lack of capacity to manage and solve the marine space integrally uses issues that involve land-sea interactions and 2. Increasing the inefficiency of attending stakeholders affected by the marine use problems that involve land-sea interactions. Thus, addressing land-sea interactions through MSP requires developing coordination mechanisms between the different levels of government and clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of the various agencies in MSP. It involves accurately defining the leaders in charge of the planning process and providing them with the necessary resources (economic, time, and human capacities) that allow them to incorporate the land-sea interactions into the MSP attributions.
Although addressing land-sea interactions through MSP has been little explored, adopting this approach in Canada has the advantage of using the growth momentum that MSP has worldwide and the interest that MSP has awakened at the federal level. Achieving the incorporation of land-sea intersections is a crucial step in fostering a comprehensive planning strategy since MSP will be incomplete if it does not consider this aspect.