Sophisticated computer simulations can support effective science-based evaluations to facilitate better governance of the marine space. We developed a range of spatial fisheries models, integrating biological with fisher decision-making dynamics and management for assessing management of multiple activities. We present the outcomes of case-specific evaluations with different ecological and socio-economic characteristics i.e. Adriatic, Ionian, Black, Baltic and Celtic Seas, and priorities like fisheries, aquaculture, offshore wind energy or conservation areas. For each case we applied the DISPLACE agent-based modelling platform for simulating bioeconomic dynamics and clarifying options for sustainable and viable fisheries in presence of other marine sectors. The approach is specifically suited for evaluating whether the benefits of spatial plans compensate for the additional economic and ecological costs of displacing fishing to the surroundings including vulnerable habitats or unfished areas. The models generate a comparative overview of short to medium-term impacts of changing spatial footprints both on the fisheries economics and on the underlying ecosystem components by aggregating the individual fishing operations, at the same time detailing the spatiotemporal dimensions for particular fishing activities, harbor communities or national fleets. We discuss some lessons learnt when developing operational modelling frameworks that incorporate stakeholder responses to spatial management options. Results show that the models enable comprehensive evaluation of spatial management strategies, taking account of underlying biological dynamics, interactions among fisheries and other marine activities. Comparison of case studies reveals how spatial management can mitigate conflicts and impacts on ecosystems at spatial and temporal scales relevant to fisheries interests and policy makers.