Introduction Integrated marine and coastal planning is being promoted and instituted in many regions around the world (Cicin-Sain and Belfiore 2003). This trend is associated with a broad shift in priorities, from managing individual marine resources for a single objective, to examining the system as a whole and looking at the cumulative effects of all human activities on the marine environment. Evidence continues to emerge about the limitations of traditional species-by-species or sector-by-sector approaches to marine planning and permitting (Guenette and Alder 2007, Douvere et al. 2007). Globally, marine regions are rife with conflict among user groups, competition between proponents of use versus nonuse of sensitive ecosystems, and discord among government bodies that share jurisdiction over marine spaces (Day et al. 2008). Integrated marine planning responds to these problems by approaching the management of the marine environment more holistically by taking into consideration economic, environmental, social, and cultural concerns (Crowder and Norse 2008), and utilizing governance structures designed to incorporate the needs of multiple uses and sectors, along with multiple authorities, organizations and individuals. Many integrated planning initiatives also take an adaptive approach, recognizing the uncertain nature of marine ecosystems and economies, and the need for management plans to adapt to change (Day et al. 2008).