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Overview of MSP related maritime uses

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

  • Natural Living Resources:

    • Fisheries
    • Aquaculture
  • Natural Non Living Resources:
    • Mineral extraction
    • Offshore renewable energy production
  • Infrastructures, uses and activities:
    • Ports
    • Tourism
    • Shipping
  • Other current uses: marine biotechnology, coastal defense

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

The national MSP framework establishes also 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?

Pilot plans for MSP exist. Please see the database for more detailed information.

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


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)
Paulo Machado
(Head of Monitoring Unit)


Autonoumus Region of Azores:
Directorate General for Maritime Affairs
Filipe Porteiro
(Regional Director)


Autonomus Region of Madeira:
Regional Directorate for Spatial Planning and Environment
Manuel Ara Oliveira
(Regional Deputy)



Last Update 01.07.2019