A cooperative game-theoretic framework for negotiating marine spatial allocation agreements among heterogeneous players

Zacharoula Kyriazi, Raul Lejano, Frank Maes, Steven Degraer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Marine spatial allocation has become, in recent decades, a political flashpoint, fuelled by political power struggles, as well as the continuously increasing demand for marine space by both traditional and emerging marine uses. To effectively address this issue, we develop a decision-making procedure, that facilitates the distribution of disputed areas of specific size among heterogeneous players in a transparent and ethical way, while considering coalitional formations through coexistence. To do this, we model players’ alternative strategies and payoffs within a cooperative game-theoretic framework. Depending on whether transferable utility (TU) or non-transferable utility (NTU) is the more appropriate assumption, we illustrate the use of the TU Shapley value and the Lejano's fixed point NTU Shapley value to solve for the ideal allocations. The applicability and effectiveness of the process has been tested in a case study area, the Dogger Bank Special Area of Conservation in the North Sea, which involves three totally or partially conflicting activities, i.e. fishing, nature conservation and wind farm development. The findings demonstrate that the process is capable of providing a unique, fair and equitable division of space Finally, among the two solution concepts proposed the fixed point NTU Shapley value manages to better address the heterogeneity of the players and thus to provide a more socially acceptable allocation that favours the weaker player, while demonstrating the importance of the monetary valuation attributed by each use to the area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)444-455
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Cooperative game-theoretic solutions
  • Marine spatial allocation
  • Non-transferable utility
  • Shapley value
  • Transferable utility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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