Department or Program

Environmental Studies


The following paper considers the topic of stakeholder engagement within an emerging way of ocean governance known as Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP). I aim to make general critiques of CMSP stakeholder engagement process elements. Additionally, I will critically evaluate the Northeast Regional Planning bodies’ options for engaging non-governmental stakeholders into regional CMSP processes within a formal advisory committee. This paper synthesizes feedback from interviews with and observations of a wide range of ocean users who have participated in actual CMSP processes in the United States. An identification of obstacles to achieving the essential principles of an effective CMSP stakeholder engagement program follows provides the foundation for the paper’s critical analysis. Even though a number of key principles have been identified as supporting a successful CMSP stakeholder engagement program, there is wide agreement of the absence of a “one-size-fits-all” model to guide CMSP stakeholder engagement. This is largely because the characteristics of the issue at hand and the stakeholders involved will ultimately determine best practices for a specific program. As such, it’s important to develop ways of critically evaluating CMSP stakeholder engagement programs based on the needs and interests of actual CMSP stakeholders. The Northeast Regional Planning bodies’ non-governmental stakeholder engagement options provide a case to apply the previously identified obstacles. Evaluating these options based on observations gathered from real life ocean user CMSP experiences will benefit the burgeoning U.S. CMSP movement in a unique way. Before performing such evaluations, this paper reviews the concept, practice, history, and current status of CMSP in the United States.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

First Advisor

Aslaug Asgeirsdottir

Date of Graduation

Spring 5-2013

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file


Available to Bates community via local IP address or Bates login.