The relation between MSP and socio-economic aspects is multi-faceted and not yet fully explored. MSP aims to reduce or avoid conflicts between a variety of economic and non-economic functions and pressures. At the same time, it is also a tool to allocate space for new and emerging uses while respecting marine nature protection targets. MSP can potentially open new economic potentials by fostering synergies between different uses. It can be seen as a way to organise the spatial distribution of economic sea uses for sustainable economic growth and to support the EU Blue Growth Strategy (2012).
Socioeconomic aspects are therefore important to be considered in MSP. The terrestrial economic development and land-sea interaction are also highly related to the economic benefits of maritime spatial plans and the importance of given maritime uses covered by these plans for the economic development of the region / country. Decisions in MSP change the opportunities of marine sectors as much as structural changes in economic sectors change the context and needs for MSP decisions, as discussed in the Maritime Sector Fiches. One could consider, if MSP could be used as a strategic tool for regional economic development.
Currently, the number of tools developed to analyse socioeconomic aspects and to integrate those more strongly into the MSP process is limited. However, the need for these tools is recognized and the interest to work on new tools has increased. Until now socio-economic data used in MSP is mainly related to the value of sectors, employment figures and numbers of companies. To a certain extent, it also considers dynamics and drivers of economic development. What is missing so far is a better understanding as well as methods on how to valorise the maritime space for each sector, the land-sea interactions and the effects of planning decisions.
This topic was the subject of an expert roundtable organised by the EU MSP Platform in July 2017. Practical examples and work in progress presented at the roundtable are among others described under each of the questions below. More information on the roundtable, including a report and presentations, is available here.
Please note that this section of the EU MSP Platform website is not currently being updated with new information. However, the resources throughout our website remain relevant to our mission of sharing knowledge and experiences on MSP in the EU.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which tools and studies are available, showing the spatial allocation of costs and benefits of marine sectors across a country?
The Spatial Economic Benefit Analysis tool provides first approaches for the offshore wind and shipping sectors, analysing and mapping the geographical distribution of benefitting companies and industries throughout the whole country and beyond. The tool is based on a value-chain approach. The collected data is presented in the form of easy to read maps. These maps reveal the share of benefitting enterprises located in the coastal region as well as the geographical scope of the maritime economy.
Which tools and studies are available, showing the socioeconomic impacts of marine sectors on coastal regions?
The BEA-APP project analyses the offshore wind power in Sölvesborg (Sweden) with regard to its regional creation of jobs. The approach differentiates between jobs created in the context of construction versus jobs related to operation and maintenance. Furthermore, the approach calculates for each year of the Sölvesborg wind park the number of new and total jobs created.
First approaches for the offshore wind and the shipping sector have been tested by the Spatial Economic Benefit Analysis tool, which is based on a value-chain. It analyses and maps the geographical distribution of benefitting companies and industries throughout the whole country and beyond.
The Plan4Blue project deals with indicators to be used to assess the current effect and potential for Blue Economy in coastal areas on the regional and municipal level. The analysis includes indicators such as population and employment, industry turnover and number of employees, productivity, company locations and density, R&D and high technology investments as well as maritime patents. The regional focus of this study is on the Gulf of Finland as well as the Archipelago Sea.
In a separate but related effort, the Plan4Blue project is using descriptive statistics to analyse productivity and efficiency of blue sectors in coastal regions. Six financial indicators are used for an input-output analysis. The results allow for a benchmarking of different Finnish and Estonian coastal regions in terms of productivity and efficiency in blue economy.
The study, Maximising the socio-economic benefits of marine planning for English coastal communities, developed by England’s Marine Management Organisation is an analysis of the social and economic processes at work in coastal communities. It identifies how different marine activities can affect coastal socio-economic performance and further develops a typology of coastal communities. It identifies issues and recommendations regarding the planning process, including how the effects of the marine planning process can be measured and which gaps in the evidence need to be addressed.
When Scottish Power Renewables were considering the development of the offshore wind farm - the Argyll Array, 5km off the coast of Tiree - a number of partners came together to consider the socio-economic implications of the development; how negative impacts could be mitigated and how the economic benefits could be realised for local communities.
Which tools and studies are available to assess the value of marine sectors?
The study economic valorization of Polish sea space in relation to fishing and its implication for the Polish MSP combines economic and spatial data. It includes the fishing effort, the variable and total costs as well of the number of vessels fishing in the same segment. Data is collected per sea square and afterwards used within a mathematical formula to calculate the fishing intensity. This result has then transformed in easy to read maps to show the spatial distribution of fishing intensity within the polish coastal waters.
The BEA-APP project analyses the offshore wind power in Sölvesborg (Sweden) with a focus on its regional creation of jobs. The approach calculates inter alia for each year of the wind park project the number of new and total jobs created.
The Ecorys study on how to measure maritime economic activities (MEAs) deals first of all with the question of how to define and isolate maritime activities from non-maritime activities. To be able to use official statistics, based on a sectoral approach, the blue value chains or activities need to be assigned to the appropriate statistical codes. However, not all MEA’s perfectly fit into statistical categories. Therefore alternative approaches using field research are necessary.
A methodology developed at the University of Naples allows for the estimation of the monetary value of marine space related to various maritime activities occurring in a specific area. Its results can help marine planners to recognize zones with higher socio-economic importance and consequently adapt the zonation process in order to fulfil conservation objectives.
Within the Blue Hub project, a tool was developed to allow for a detailed exploration of the intensity of fishing activity within all EU waters. After the selection of a high intensity fishing area, the tool shows the coastal communities that relate to that area. For confidentiality reasons, all information is aggregated from the individual vessel to the level of ports. Figures of dependency are only presented for ports with more than five vessels in the AIS data set.
Within the SmartSea project, the economic, social and environmental impacts of the growth of blue economies are analysed. Both statistical databases of the current and past activities, and the current economic state and potential (i.e. turnover and employment) of different blue business sectors in the Gulf of Bothnia have been assessed. Furthermore, the legislation and strategies, which are guiding Blue Growth, but also might act as a hindrance to its growth in the region, have been considered.
A joint study, conducted by the Whitaker Institute (NUI Galway) and the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, focuses on the ecosystem service benefits that society receives from Ireland’s marine environment. Marine ecosystem services are provided by the processes, functions and structure of the marine environment that directly or indirectly contribute to societal welfare, health and economic activities. These services are vital to ensuring blue growth in the ocean economy. Within the study a method is applied to valorise the blue ecosystem services in Ireland.
What are some examples of developing future Blue Growth scenarios for the MSP process?
The following cases describe examples of scenarios developed to support Blue Growth in MSP. More information about tools and methods to develop scenarios are available under the FAQ MSP Options and Scenarios.
The Plan4Blue project develops sustainable Blue Growth scenarios for selected blue economy sectors in the Gulf of Finland and the Archipelago Sea. The analysis is based on a participatory approach including Delphi panels and scenario workshops. The development comprises a sector analysis, including sector strategies and trends, a network analysis including mapping exercises as well as an input-output modelling of maritime industries in Estonia and Finland.
The BalticLINes project deals with the development of spatial shipping scenarios in the Baltic Sea. To develop these scenarios, multiple activities have been undertaken, such as a statistical scenario analysis and activities involving stakeholders, the elaboration of questionnaires filled in by key stakeholders and the hosting of a 2-day MSP Challenge workshop. Based on the findings, the report provides recommendations on the shipping sector for MSP authorities.
The MEDTRENDS project illustrates and maps the main scenarios of maritime economic activities for the EU Mediterranean countries in the next 20 years. It shows an in-depth analysis of the current situation and future trends in 10 of the main maritime economic sectors, their drivers and environmental impacts.
Strategic scenarios for the use of the sea have been developed in Latvia. Four scenarios were developed in order to arrive at an optimal allowed sea use solution satisfactory to stakeholders and society. The narrative story lines of the scenarios are presented in four maps and a short document respectively.
Scottish stakeholders of the offshore wind farming sector considered how negative impacts could be mitigated and how the economic benefits could be realised for local communities.
Spatial Demands and Scenarios for Maritime Sectors and Marine Conservation is a study conducted within the SIMCelt project.The aim is to investigate current and potential future spatial demands of key maritime sectors within the Celtic seas with reference to cross-border issues.
Which tools and studies are available, exploring the linkages between marine sectors and the rest of the national economy?
What is the benefit of cross-border cooperation and networks in terms of socioeconomic aspects?
The Plan4blue project analyses economic and social networks in the Gulf of Finland and the Archipelago Sea area to find out which networks exist and estimate their maritime value. The study is based on an online survey, face-to-face interviews and a social network analysis. The results show that cross-border cooperation is experienced as very important and should thus been improved.
HELCOM as Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission has established an expert network on economic and social analyses to acknowledge the strong inter-linkage of socioeconomic and environmental aspects and to learn more about the contribution of the use of marine waters to the economy in the Baltic Sea region per year. In parallel, the 2nd holistic assessment of ecosystem health, initiated in 2017, investigates the costs of degradation caused by human activities in the marine area to find comprehensive answers.
Understanding and Applying Ecosystem Services in Transboundary Maritime Spatial Planning is one part of the SIMCelt project. In this context a tool was developed as part of a case study to understand the concept and application of Ecosystem Services for MSP in a transboundary context by using existing and readily available datasets. The tool seeks to help marine planners understand and apply Ecosystem Services in a practical way. It therefore uses three types of data sets to map ecosystem services including provision, regulatory and cultural services in a transboundary context (Celtic Seas). It also illustrates how different data sets can be used to map ecosystem services for decision making in transboundary MSP.