Ecosystem-based management, spatial orientation, a multilevel policy framework and integration have all been identified as essential components of effective marine spatial planning (MSP). Integration has been noted by researchers and through international forums as being essential to achieve effective oceans governance. However, integrated policy approaches are the most difficult policies to design, develop and implement. They require a holistic rather than sectoral focus; horizontal and vertical jurisdictional support and coordination; and the involvement of a diverse group of stakeholders including industry, NGOs, and local communities. Integrated policies are prone to failure but if “integrative capacity” exists, integration in MSP can contribute to its success. This paper examines the role of integration within MSP and suggests a framework for determining effective integration and “integrative capacity”. It refers to different marine spatial planning examples which demonstrate that integrative capacity can contribute to the success, failure and longevity of MSP and ecosystem-based management.