Please note:

The Commission is in the process of updating some of the content on this website in light of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. If the site contains content that does not yet reflect the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, it is unintentional and will be addressed.



Overview of MSP related maritime uses

The National Ocean Strategy 2013-2020, according to its action plan, includes the following maritime activities.

Natural Living Resources:

- Fisheries

- Aquaculture

Natural Non-Living Resources:

- Mineral extraction

- Offshore renewable energy production

Infrastructure, uses and activities:

- Ports

- Tourism

- Shipping

Other current uses:

- Marine biotechnology

- Coastal defense

The action plan also focuses on activities related to the knowledge of the ocean and atmosphere, scientific research in different domains, and to certain administrative and governmental aspects.

The national MSP framework establishes the regime for private use of the maritime space of the following uses and activities:

  • Aquaculture
  • Marine biotechnology
  • Mineral extraction
  • Offshore energy
  • Infrastrutures
  • Scientific research
  • Tourism
  • Under water cultural heritage

Which maritime spatial plans exist?

For the Continent Subdivision, the Plano de Ordenamento do Espaço Marítimo (POEM) was developed in 2011, under the Order No.32277/2008. The POEM is composed of 6 volumes: Volume 1. Scope; Volume 2. MSP proposal, including maps; Volume 3. Strategic Environmental Assessment report; Volume 4. Non-technical resume; Volume 5. Diagnostic and technical report; and Synthesis Volume.

Initially, the POEM was developed as a sectoral plan, under the coordination of the former Water Institute (INAG) between 2009 and 2011, covering maritime space adjacent to mainland Portugal (EEZ included), finalized by DGPM. Under the Order No.14449/2012, the POEM granted not the status of a planning instrument, but of a study on the uses and activities that take place in the Portuguese maritime space. In 2015, the Decree-Law No. 38/2015 established POEM as a situation reference for the maritime spatial planning of Mainland Subdivision and for granting the new rights of private use until the approval of the Situation Plan.

MSP legislation

In April 2014, Law No. 17/2014 on ‘marine spatial planning and management‘ was approved as the fundamental law for MSP for all the Portuguese maritime space, including the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles. Its enabling legislation, Decree-Law No. 38/2015, entered into force on 12 March 2015, and develops the marine spatial planning and management fundamental law, defining, among others, the regime of maritime spatial planning instruments: i) Situation Plan with the identification of the protection and preservation areas of the maritime space, and the temporal and spatial distribution of current and potential uses and activities; ii) Allocation Plans for the private use of some areas or volume of the maritime not considered in the situation plan.

In 2015, Order No. 11494/2015 established the beginning of the preparation and development of the Situation Plan, defining the competent authorities for preparation and support of the process. The Situation Plan (PSOEM) is being developed and a website has been created to support its elaboration, which comprises a geoportal relating to the Portuguese maritime space: https://www.dgrm.mm.gov.pt/web/guest/as-pem-ordenamento

More information on the current status of Portugal's MSP process can be found in a presentation given at the SIMNORAT final conference (29 - 30 January 2019).

National MSP authority

Ministry of the Sea



Ministry of the Sea

Directorate General of Natural Resources, Safety and Maritime Services (DGRM)

José Manuel Marques, Head of Marine Environment and Sustainability Department



Directorate General for Maritime Policy (DGPM)

Conceição Santos, Deputy Director General for Maritime Police



Vanda Dores, Head of Strategy Department



Autonomous Region of Azores
Directorate General for Maritime Affairs
Filipe Porteiro, Regional Director


Autonomous Region of Madeira
Regional Directorate of the Sea 

Mafalda Freitas, Regional Director



Last Update 07.07.2020