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Overview of MSP related maritime uses

  • Current main uses:

    • Tourism
    • Fisheries
    • Shipping
    • Aquaculture
    • Ports
    • Offshore renewable energy production

Which maritime spatial plans exist?

There are currently no official maritime spatial plans in existence in France.

Nevertheless, four Interregional Directorates for the Sea (Direction InterRégionale de la Mer – DIRM) cover the whole coast of metropolitan France: East Channel-North Sea; North Atlantic-West Channel; South Atlantic; Mediterranean. For each of the 4 coastlines, plans are established under the authority of the préfets coordonnateurs, the préfet de region nominated for that purpose, and the préfet maritime.

The timeline for the French MSP process is presented below:

MSP legislation

On 8 August 2016, the MSP Directive was transposed into French legislation through the entry into force of article123 of law n° 2016-1087 for the 2nd “reconquest of biodiversity, nature and landscapes” [1]. The article modifies the French Environmental code through the introduction of the notion of maritime spatial planning defined as “the process by which the State defines and organises human activities at sea in an ecological, economic and social perspective. It does not apply to activities related to defense or national security”.

The law indicates the documents stratégiques de façade (strategic planning documents) as the main tools through which MSP is implemented. In addition, article 123 introduces the National Strategy for the Seas and Coast into French legislation, and simplifies policy governance on biodiversity through the merging of several existing regional agencies in two consultative bodies: the National Biodiversity Committee and the National Nature Conservation Council.

The modalities for implementing article 123 are further elaborated through the political decree n°2017-724 adopted on 3rd May 2017[2]. The text defines the scope, objectives and content of the document stratégique de façade as main tools through which each French coastline integrates and combines the implementation of several EU legislative texts and policies.;jsessionid=349BDEBD2846884...

Public Consultation on the French Sea Basin Strategies

In order to develop a long-term strategy to support sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors, France has adopted a National Maritime and Coastline Strategy ( Stratégie nationale pour la mer et le littoral - SNML) which sets out an ambitious maritime policy for the 21st century. The national strategy is implemented at the level of sea basins by the mean of sea basin strategy documents (document stratégique de façade - DSF) in mainland France. Sea basin strategy documents are the legal solution chosen by France to address the requirements of the MSFD and the MSP Directive and these documents specify the conditions for implementing the national strategy according to local specificities. It includes MSP in the form of a vocation map and it is subject to an environmental assessment. The four strategic documents have been drafted in cooperation with stakeholders and have been assessed by the French Environmental Authority. They are now available for public consultation until the 4th of June 2019 at:

French institutions and neighbouring States consultations are also conducted during this period.

The following documents are available online in English:

  • National Strategy for the Sea and Coast
  • Sea and maritime basin - Strategy document
  • North Atlantic - Western Channel Sea Basin Strategy Document (summary)
  • Eastern Channel - North Sea Basin Strategy Document (summary)
  • South Atlantic Sea Basin Strategy Document (summary)
  • Mediterranean Sea Basin Strategy Document (summary)

National MSP authority

Ministère de la transition écologique et solidaire


Ministère de la transition écologique et solidaire

Délégation à la mer et au littoral

Délégué à la mer et au littoral

Tour Séquoia - 92 055 La Défense Cedex



Last Update 26.06.2019