May 07

HOT OFF THE PRESS: Latest EU MSP Platform newsletter featuring updates from 9 Member States on MSP progress, outputs from SIMNORAT, SIMWESTMED, SUPREME and more projects, plus events events!

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The results of the recently completed cross-border MSP projects - SUPREME, SIMWESTMED, and SIMNORAT - are now available online. You can find them on the project description pages or by searching the MSP Platform Practices Database.

The Belgian Marine Spatial Plan is currently presented to the King for his signature, which wil be followed by an official publication in the Belgian State Publication soon thereafter. This means that the review of the Marine Spatial Plan for the period 2020-2026 will be finalised soon. The key points include a doubling of the capacity of renewable energy; the allocation of zones for innovative industrial and commercial projects; as well as the allocation of a new marine protected area as well as the allocation of special zones wherein fisheries measures will be implemented.

More about MSP in Belgium

The MSP Challenge Game is going from strength to strength. More than 3,000 participants have played the MSP Challenge Game by now in more than 100 sessions. During a recent meeting of the ICES Working Group on Marine Planning and Coastal Zone Management in Ireland, a session with the #MSPglobal edition was played at the Galway Aquarium, bringing together students of NUI Galway (SeaShoreNUIG) and MSP experts.  The game is fun but also a great platform for learning and exchange. Three recent scientific articles evaluate the MSP Challenge Game from the perspective of knowledge co-creation, collaboration and learning across boundaries, available for download here:

Abspoel, L. et al. 2019. Communicating Maritime Spatial Planning: The MSP Challenge approach. Marine Policy,

Jean, S. et al. 2018. Serious Games as Planning Support Systems: Learning from Playing Maritime Spatial Planning Challenge 2050.

Jean, S. et al. 2018. Serious games as a catalyst for boundary crossing collaboration and knowledge co-creation in a watershed governance context. Journal of Environmental Management 223, 1010-1022.

A new research project has begun at Södertörn University (Sweden) to investigate the links between social sustainability and MSP. Social sustainability has not received as much attention as the ecological or economic dimensions of sustainability in MSP, possibly because the concept and its various linkages to MSP  are not always clear. This project will look at different aspects of social sustainability, for example how MSP can contribute to social justice and a fair distribution of benefits, and what an MSP process would look like that can make democratic decisions over marine space. The project aims to deliver a more coherent understanding of what ‘social sustainability’ means in terms of sustainable marine spatial planning and how these insights can be applied to MSP practice in three Baltic Sea case study countries. For more information contact Fred Saunders, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Södertörn University,


The South marine plan was published in July 2018. Ongoing activity has been focussed on external implementation work with decision-makers in the plan area through a series of training workshops delivered from September 2018 to February 2019. The first review is expected to be completed and published in 2021. An Approach to Monitoring document has been published which sets out how this review will be undertaken. The remaining plans are being developed simultaneously and are all currently in the drafting phase. The third, and final, iteration of online engagement took place from 21 January to 29 March 2019 and was accompanied by a series of stakeholder workshops. Statutory consultation on these plans is anticipated in late 2019 and submission to government in 2020 with all plans adopted by 2021.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is also seeking feedback on a new digital marine planning system, envisaged to replace the Marine Information System. The MMO is undertaking targeted research with their stakeholders to better understand their requirements for a digital marine planning system. The research sessions will run between now and the middle of June, and an individual session is envisaged to take between 1-1.5 hours. If you would like to participate and help shape their future digital marine planning service, or have any questions about the research sessions, please get in touch with

More about MSP in the UK

The Interreg Baltic Sea Region Monitoring Committee has selected the Project Platform “Strengthening the capacity of MSP stakeholders and decision makers” or 'Capacity4MSP' for funding. Project Platforms are meant to support cooperation among partners of projects funded by different funding programmes in a certain thematic field in order to increase their impact. Project Platforms should ensure more intensive use, better durability and transferability of projects' outcomes. The Project Platform Capacity4MSP is aimed at intensifying the dialogue between different practitioners involved in maritime spatial planning in the Baltic Sea Region. It brings together eleven projects from five funding Programmes, i.e. from Interreg South Baltic, HORIZON 2020, BONUS, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and Interreg Baltic Sea Region.

More information

The Belgian Marine Spatial Plan is currently presented to the King for his signature, which wil be followed by an official publication in the Belgian State Publication soon thereafter, This means that the review of the Marine Spatial Plan for the period 2020-2026 will be finalised soon. The key points include a doubling of the capacity of renewable energy; the allocation of zones for innovative industrial and commercial projects; as well as the allocation of a new marine protected area as well as the allocation of special zones wherein fisheries measures will be implemented.

More about MSP in Belgium

Slovenia is currently working on the revision of the Spatial Development Strategy for 2050, including in particular the component related to the sea and coast. The maritime spatial plan will be designed in the form of an action programme of this hierarchically superordinate strategic document.  On the basis of the legal, methodological and territorial frame, the maritime spatial plan will provide inputs from hierarchically superordinate documents; analyse state, process, restriction and development needs; analyse already present and expected use conflicts; elaborate scenarios and a vision for future development for the area and include the environmental report related to the plan. The plan will contain also implementation measures and guidelines for subordinate documents as well as monitoring and evaluation issues.

More about MSP in Slovenia

Estonia is preparing to start stage 2 transboundary consultations in May. Stage 2 period will be 9 weeks and countries can go through the first draft of Estonian MSP. Estonia is also preparing transboundary consultation meeting in 29th of May at 13.00-16.00 in the Ministry of Finance (Suur-Ameerika 1, Tallinn). A translation of the first draft of the plan is expected to be ready in mid-May.

More about MSP in Estonia

May 03

Spain is moving forward on the technical development of the Maritime Spatial Plans, through different simultaneous actions: 

  • Inter-administrative Coordination. A working group has been created, to facilitate coordination between the different departments of the Central Government. For a better coordination with other authorities, a first meeting took place in February 2019 with the regional administrations, in charge of tourism, environment, underwater cultural heritage, fisheries and aquaculture, as well as regional ports. The representatives of local authorities were also present in this meeting. 
  • Stakeholder’s involvement. A first meeting took place in March 2019 with more than 40 representatives of private sectors and NOGs, mainly representing the maritime sectors in Spain at the national level. It is foreseen that after summer 2019, a set of meetings or workshops will be carried out more at the sea basin level, for each of the five marine subdivisions in Spain. 
  • Development and agreement of a set of MSP objectives. A draft document is being developed with the help of the working group, as well as the contributions of the regional governments and stakeholders. It is foreseen that this document will be subject to public consultation, and finally endorsed by the Interministerial Commission of Marine Strategies. 
  • Compilation of existing and future uses and activities in the Spanish marine waters. Based on the information produced for the 2 nd cycle of marine strategies, as well as that provided by the Ministries, regional governments and stakeholders, a first spatial analysis of existing and future uses and activities will be ready soon. 
  • Starting the scoping process for the strategic environmental assessment of the maritime spatial plans. The draft documents will be circulated to the authorities and the public, for obtaining a scoping document that will guide the strategic environmental assessment of the plans. They will also be circulated to the neighbouring countries for them to communicate their intention to participate in the official transboundary consultations.

More about MSP in Spain

The UK’s Marine Management Organisation is currently in the process of creating a new digital marine planning system, envisaged to replace the Marine Information System ( As part of this they are undertaking targeted research with their stakeholders to better understand their requirements for a digital marine planning system. The research sessions will run between now and the middle of June, and an individual session is envisaged to take between 1-1.5 hours. If you would like to participate and help shape their future digital marine planning service, or have any questions about the research sessions, please get in touch with

More about MSP in the UK


The Plan4Blue project presents four scenarios for how our choices will affect people and the marine nature in the Gulf of Finland and the Archipelago Sea. The short animation presents four alternative future scenarios: “Unlimited growth”, “Virtual reality”, “Sustainability above all!” and “Sustainability dilemma”. The animation explains the idea of thinking with alternative scenarios. In this work, scenarios are not forecasts. They are understood as different directions that our societies and economy might develop. The infographs describe how the alternative scenarios would play out for different sectors. The sectors are here understood very broadly.  More detailed information on how the alternative scenarios would affect different sectors can be found in the infographs and scenario report

More information

Infographic Marine Energy Sector

Infographic Maritime Cluster

Infographic Blue Bioeconomy and Subsea Resources

Infographic Maritime Tourism

Apr 12

Registration for the 3rd UNESCO IOC and DG MARE MSP Forum is now open. It will take place in Vigo, Spain between 12 and 15 May and there will be interactive panels, roundtable discussions and local stakeholder visits! The deadline for registering is 19 May.

More information

Apr 12

The European Commission and the Co-Presidency of the Initiative for the sustainable development of the blue economy in the western Mediterranean are holding the event Hackathons WestMED: "Blue economy contribution to the Summit of the Two Shores” on Tuesday 14 May 2019 in Palermo, Italy.

The event aims to facilitate the exchange of project ideas and promote concrete project development among stakeholders in the region operating in the maritime sector (businesses, researchers, institutes, national and local authorities belonging to the western Mediterranean Countries).

Specifically, this exchange will take place in the framework of 6 different parallel sessions covering the fields of Illegal fishing (IUU), Aquaculture, Plastic Litter, Clean Transport, Clusters and Tourism.

The parallel working sessions will be held in a ‘hackathon’ style, hence involving selected practitioners across the western Mediterranean (and beyond) with the purpose of taking existing project ideas to the next level, so to strengthen project partnerships and further develop the project concepts in line with the available funding opportunities for the region.

The morning session will host a showcase of a number of funding programmes/initiatives and project ideas relevant for the themes and topics to be discussed. Given the specific objectives and approach of this workshop, participation to the “hackathon” sessions will be limited.

The event is organised back-to-back with the Conference of the "Med Lab Group: Innovative Practices in Coastal Tourism", organised in Palermo on 13 May 2019. For more information and to register to this event, please follow this link. 

More information

Ocean industry representatives and others interested in underwater acoustics are invited to participate in a free, four-part webinar series on anthropogenic underwater sound sources organized and hosted by the Discovery of Sound in the Sea (DOSITS). The first two webinars of this four-part series will take place in May 2019 and will focus on underwater sound associated with seismic sources, pile driving and wind turbines.

  • Wednesday, May 1, 2019, 12:00 pm ET Dr. Robert Gisiner: Seismic Sound Sources
  • Wednesday, May 22, 2019, 12:00 pm ET Dr. James Miller and Dr. Kathleen Vigness-Raposa: Pile-driving, Dr. Jakob Tougaard: Wind Turbines

Subsequent webinars will take place in the 3rd quarter of 2019 and will focus on commercial shipping, sonar, and echosounders.

Each webinar will last approximately 60 minutes and provide an update on current research efforts along with a review of noise mitigation measures, followed by an extended period of facilitated discussion. All webinars will be recorded and archived on the DOSITS website (Decision Makers Webinars). A summary of questions asked, and their answers, will be posted online after each webinar.

Prior to each webinar, an outline of the presentation(s), with links to relevant background content on DOSITS, will be made available. Participants are encouraged to review these outlines, as well as archived webinars on the potential effects of underwater sound on marine animals, before each sound source webinar.

To register, visit enquiries, please contact Holly Morin at

The public consultation with the relevant governmental authorities and stakeholders on the amended MSP Law and the relevant Regulations was completed on 15 April 2019. The final draft of the amended MSP Law and the Regulations was submitted by the end of April to the Law Office of the Republic for legal examination and approval. The kickoff meeting of the THAL-CHOR 2 project took place successfully, with the participation of all partners from Cyprus and Greece, in Limassol on 29 and 30 January 2019.

With a €15 million contribution from the EU, and an equal amount of matching funds from the government of Cyprus (and additional funds from national and international Blue Economy stakeholders), the Cyprus Marine and Maritime Institute, the CMMI, will contribute to the development of a world class integrated, sustainable, Blue Economy RTDI ecosystem in Cyprus. The Centre will support the economic and social transformation and development of Cyprus aspiring to become a point of reference for Cyprus, the region and the world. Focusing on key priority sectors such as maritime transport, offshore energy, maritime and coastal tourism and aquaculture, the CMMI will forge partnering relationships with well-known European institutions and businesses, active in the fields of research, technology and innovation for the Blue Economy, thus contributing to the transfer of knowledge, the development, application and dissemination of cutting-edge technologies, the exchange of best practices and the development of a critical mass of infrastructure and human capital in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

More information

The foundation of the Maritime Spatial Planning is created by the overview of the current state consisting of several different reports. Based on the current state, the maritime spatial planners have drafted future scenarios for the marine area with Capful Oy in the lead and in co-operation with stakeholders during this winter and spring. You can give feedback on the overview of the current state and the scenario drafts between 10 April–10 May. You can find the materials and the link to the digital feedback form here.

The consultation of the first phase of the Maritime Spatial Planning will be organised during 10 April–10 May 2019. Based on the hearing and regional future workshops, the preparation work of the actual plan drafts will be started. The consultation material consists of the preparation phase’s reports on the current state and the draft of the future scenario on national marine areas. A key part of the overview of the current state is the Status of Finland’s marine environment 2018 publication created as part of planning the marine strategy. The consultation of the Maritime Spatial Planning is not a statutory statement procedure, but it is done to collect views as background material for the planning.

Online materials include:

Summaries of the hearing materials:

Current state:

Future scenario:

The work will continue in May–June by drafting the regional future scenarios together with stakeholders. The future scenarios define the direction for creating the maritime spatial plans. You can find the schedules and locations of the regional future workshops here. The aim of the scenario work is to define the most probable future scenarios and evaluate their impacts. This way, the foundation is created for the objectives, “roadmaps” and planning reservations to be defined in the maritime spatial plans. Maritime spatial plans are the vision of the guidelines regarding the future use of marine areas to be created by the regional councils of coastal Finland and the Åland Islands in cooperation with stakeholders.

Read more

The Bulgarian Competent Authority for implementing national MSP, the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works (MRDPW) took active participation at the Regional Stakeholder Seminar on Blue Economy - Towards a Common Maritime Agenda for the Black Sea, held on 19 March 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey at the Hilton Istanbul Maslak. The Seminar was organized by the Facility for Blue Growth with the support of the European Commission and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, Permanent International Secretariat (BSEC PERMIS). The event brought together policy experts, scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs and regional organisations for debating on the challenges and opportunities for cooperation on marine and maritime affairs in the Black Sea and for identifying joint actions to support an innovative, resilient and sustainable blue economy in the region.

Mr. Angel Gyorev, Senior Associate in European projects and programs management “Strategic planning and programming” Unit at the MRDPW attended the Seminar and actively contributed to the discussions in Workshop 2: Maritime connectivity in the digital era: an engine for blue economy and Workshop 4: Environment and marine litter - Healthy marine environment and fight against plastic pollution. 

In Workshop 2, participants discussed and supported the idea of better uses of innovations in logistics supply chains in the Black Sea. Insufficient innovations are an obstacle to developing good services. Poor land-based infrastructure linking inland ports also limits the potential development of logistics services in the Black Sea. The capacity to apply international standards is limited and should be supported. It is necessary to improve the liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure in order to stimulate green ports and compliance with international environmental standards.  The discussions came up with the conclusion that concentration of cargo flows must be well balanced to achieve efficient use of intermodal transport (Ro-Ro services). Unfortunately, at present, there is a slight degree of unfavourable and insufficient use of different modes of transport.

It was identified from the Workshop 4 discussions that Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) and ecosystem-based management ensure a shared maritime space amongst various economic activities in the Black Sea. The MSP provides the needed policy and legal framework to solve conflicts and promote synergies between uses and uses-environment. MSP can also facilitate the developing of a consistent network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Black Sea region. The participants stated and agreed that MSP can be used as a tool for protection and management of MPAs through the creation of designated protection zones, special management measures and increased data availability and knowledge.

Read the Bulgarian Country Information Profile here.

Apr 08

The second edition of the International Forum for Marine Spatial Planning (MSPforum) took place on 26-29 March 2019, organised by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) and UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO). This was an excellent opportunity to exchange MSP practices and tools with over 50 MSP practitioners from more than 20 nationalities. Three panel discussions on the status of MSP in the Indian Ocean, stakeholder engagement and the sustainable blue economy allowed participants to learn about the experiences of national practitioners on issues related to transboundary MSP, funding, the science-policy interface and economic growth.

Three technical workshops on land-sea interaction and integrated coastal zone management, sectors and stakeholders involved in MSP and the blue economy were organized in an interactive format to help build new knowledge to inform, guide and support MSP at global scale. An innovative approach to visiting and exchanging with local stakeholders was tested during the forum in a half day dedicated field session. The forum participants split into groups to meet representatives of public administration, energy, fisheries, tourism and civil society, to understand their needs and problems within the processes of MSP and the blue economy, their synergies with other stakeholder groups and more generally their relationship with the ocean. The groups then presented their findings and results during the afternoon’s plenary session.

The next MSPforums are planned in Vigo, Spain, and Riga, Latvia, in May and November 2019 respectively.

Access the report of the MSP Global Opening Conference here.

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 means 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:

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)

A summary of the National Maritime and Coastline Strategy and four sea basin strategy documents is also available in the Practices Database.

More about MSP in France


The UK Marine Management Organisation's 3rd Iteration marine planning engagement is coming to an end. Between 21 January until 29 March 2019 they have been engaging on the work to date in the development of the north west, north east, south west and south east and marine plans (Iteration 3). This engagement provides an opportunity to input towards the development of marine plans in the UK areas. The engagement focusses on:

  • preferred draft policies;
  • draft supporting text for policies including on implementation.

You still have until 29 March to complete the on-line engagement. The on-line engagement is the most comprehensive way to view and provide comment on these Iteration 3 products. Just select the topics you have an interest in and complete the short survey for each one.

More information

The MSPglobal Opening Conference took place in Paris, France on 11 and 12 February 2019. A conference report has now been published, along with a project brochure. There is currently a stakeholder survey online, to which people are invited to upload their information to the MSPglobal Stakeholder Database. This will help the project to better plan individual engagement in different activities, according to expertise and interests.

More information

MSPGlobal Brochure


Feb 25

Start your week off with our latest newsletter, which includes: 9 Conflicting MSP Sector Fiches + the latest news about MSP across Europe; all about the latest and upcoming events; interesting publications and much more!

View the newsletter here

All  newsletters

BSH has developed the draft of the Site Development Plan 2019 accompanied by two strategic environmental assessment reports (North Sea/Baltic Sea). The Site Development Plan is the sectoral plan for the orderly expansion of offshore wind turbines and their connection lines in the German exclusive economic zone of the North and Baltic Seas. Under the statutory conditions, it may also contain sectoral planning rules for the coastal waters on the basis of an administrative agreement with a German coastal state. The international consultation of the draft plan started on 25th January 2019. The draft documents (including summaries of the site development plan and the two environmental reports) are available here in several languages. There is an opportunity for authorities and individuals of the North and Baltic Sea States to comment on the draft documents until 25th March 2019.

More about German MSP

BSH website

The soon to be published study, Addressing Conflicting Spatial Demands in MSP, analysed the nine most common spatial conflicts between maritime sectors. The results of the study include nine fiches describing spatial conflicts between sectors, including their individual spatial demands and detailed descriptions of conflicting elements. Special emphasis is put on possible solutions for the conflicts, which can be both mitigating solutions (before the problem arises), or problem solving solutions, when a conflict is already apparent. Solutions can be both MSP-related (i.e. to be incorporated into a plan or planning process) or possibly be found in a more sector-oriented way (outside of the MSP process). To increase the understanding of the conflict in real life, several case studies (conflict stories) are described in the fiches.

Go to the Sector Conflicting Interest pages

Marine Planning Iteration 3 engagement is an opportunity for stakeholders to comment on the preferred draft policies produced as part of the marine planning process in the North East, South East, North West and South West areas. It is now the last week to give your views on the South Marine Plan and East Marine Plans - Iteration 3 online engagement is open until Friday 29 March 2019.

More information


Public consultation on the Baseline Report closed on 14 December 2018. The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government received 173 responses to the consultation from a broad range of stakeholders, including members of the public, coastal community groups, environmental NGOs, sports bodies, stakeholder representative bodies, fisheries organisations, energy providers, Local Authorities, public sector bodies, political representatives and parties, and higher education bodies. The received submissions can be viewed under the following link. More information about the baseline report can be found here and here.

More information


Feb 05

Are you an experienced #MSP planner? Do you have experience in more than 1 continent? Do you speak more than 1 language? Apply to be a member of the MSP Global 2030 Expert Group & contribute to the International Guidelines for transboundary MSP (joint initiative European Commission's DG MARE and UNESCO's International Oceanographic Commission)

More information


Jan 29

SIMNORAT Closing Conference

29.01.2019 - 30.01.2019

Brest, France

The Closing Conference of the SIMNORAT project will be held in Brest, France, from the 29th to the 30th of January 2019. Registration is open until 18 January 2019. A draft programme and more information is available here. 

Jan 25

A new open-access book has been published on the topic of MSP: 'MSP - Past, Present, Future'. This open access book is the first comprehensive overview of MSP. Countries across the globe are beginning to implement MSP; however the authors of this collection have identified several key questions that are emerging from this growing body of MSP experience. How can MSP deal with a complex and dynamic environment such as the sea? How can MSP be embedded in multiple levels of governance across regional and national borders – and how far does the environment benefit from this new approach? This book actively engages with the problems encapsulated in these questions, and explores possible solutions.

More information

Jan 23

Brill | Nijhoff has published 'The Ecosystem Approach in Ocean Planning and Governance' which takes stock of the challenges associated with implementing an ecosystem approach in ocean governance. In addition to theorizing the notion of Ecosystem Approach and its multifaceted implications, the book provides in depth analyses of lessons learned and remaining challenges associated with making the Ecosystem Approach fully relevant and operational in different marine policy fields, including marine spatial planning, fisheries, and biodiversity protection. In doing so, it adds much needed legal and social science perspectives to the existing literature on the Ecosystem Approach in relation to the marine environment. While focusing predominantly on the European context, the perspective is enriched by analyses from other jurisdictions, including the USA."

More information

Jan 23

Launch of MSPGlobal


MSPglobal is a new joint initiative launched by UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and the European Commission to develop new international guidelines on maritime spatial planning.

Intensified activities in coastal and marine waters require integrated planning and decision-making as well as enhanced efforts to achieve sustainability. By fostering integrated management practices to protect and restore marine and coastal ecosystems, strengthen resilience and promote a healthy and productive ocean, international marine/maritime spatial planning (MSP) proves to be an important means to achieve global ocean governance goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Over the course of three years, the MSPglobal initiative will contribute to improving cross-border and transboundary cooperation where it already exists and promoting MSP processes in areas where it is yet to be put in place, with the objective to triple the area of territorial waters benefiting from MSP effectively implemented by 2030.

More specifically, it aims to:
• Develop guidance on international cross-border planning;
• Perform a pilot regional project in the West Mediterranean (Algeria, France, Italy, Malta, Morocco, Spain and Tunisia – other WestMED countries can also participate in training activities);
• Perform a pilot regional project in the Southeast Pacific with a specific cross-border exercise at the historical Bay of Guayaquil (Ecuador/Peru) and training activities benefiting Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Peru.

MSPglobal will provide the context for active and effective participation of policy-makers, scientists, citizens and other stakeholders to improve governance at multiple levels and achieve an ecosystem-based approach in support of the blue economy. It is designed to support the implementation of the Joint Roadmap to accelerate marine/maritime spatial planning processes worldwide. An opening conference is organised in Paris, France from 11-12 February 2019 and it will also be livestreamed.

More information

The PANACeA initiative, as part of their work to mainstream the efforts of the Interreg Med Biodiversity Protection Community, presented the Declaration on Ecosystem-based approaches for biodiversity protection and management in the Mediterranean, in December at the EU Parliament in Brussels, in collaboration with the Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas Intergroup (SEARICA). The Declaration summarises state-of-the-art knowledge compiled from 11 thematic projects and 200 partner organisations concerning threats and pressures in the Mediterranean and highlights a series of principles to guide future joint actions towards more effective and transnational management of key ecological assets that are grounded on a holistic and ecosystem based approach.

The signature of the Declaration will take place during the final PANACeA Conference in Malaga in October 2019.  Signatures from Declaration supporters can be submitted by sending an email to and join their community and its collective message.

The European Strategy for more Growth and Jobs in Coastal and Maritime Tourism is celebrating its 5th anniversary since the adoption of its Communication in February 2014. The Strategy sets out several priority areas and lists 14 actions to overcome gaps in skills, seasonality, enviornmental pressures, route to funding and other shortcomings, in otder to stimulate the sector's performance and competitiveness.

It provides a framework for the development of coastal and maritime tourism within Europe, focusing on four priority areas to: 1) stimulating performance and competitiveness; 2) promoting skills and innovation; 3) strengthening sustainability; 4) maximising available EU funding. In addition to the 14 actions included in the strategy, an additional 24 actions were expected from local and regional authorities in the Member States, as well as from the private sector operating in the coastal and maritime domain. The European Commission has now launched a survey to take stock of these efforts and to consider accomplishments, progress and obstacles. The survey is open until the end of January 2019 and the results will feed into an implementation report which is expected in 2019.

Go to the survey

- (8 pager including the European Strategy Communication's 14 actions)

More about Coastal and Maritime Tourism in relation to Maritime Spatial Planning




The European Atlas of Marine Life presents a range of data products including tools, models and maps, illustrating the diverse range of outputs that can be generated from EMODnet Biology hosted data.

The available data and products are structured around the biological Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs) facilitating global interoperability and contributing to the aims of UN Sustainable Development Goal 14, the relevant Aichi Biodiversity Targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the activities focused around the UN Decade of Ocean Science (2021-2030). Hosted on the EMODnet Biology website ( the products are the result of two years of focussed activity within Phase 3 of EMODnet Biology.  Through an iterative process of end-user engagement and focussed technical workshops the initial 14 data products ( represent a wide-range of demand-led data products, that help to answer fundamental and policy-driven questions related to managing the natural and anthropogenic impacts in European waters.

More information


Dec 17

In early 2019 the UK Marine Management Organisation (MMO) will be engaging on the Iteration 3 outputs for marine planning in the north west, north east, south west and south east.   
This will provide the ideal opportunity for you to check progress towards the development of the plans. The engagement on Iteration 3 outputs will focus on:

  • preferred draft policies;
  • draft supporting text for policies including on implementation; and
  • the next steps in marine planning.

The engagement period will take place between Monday 21 January 2019 and Friday 29 March 2019.  It will include workshops, in each of the four marine plan areas supported by online engagement. 
The early opening of the online engagement in January will give you an opportunity to look at the materials for engagement prior to the workshops or provide your feedback online if you are unable to attend our events.
To find a suitable workshop and to register: click on the links below.
NB: The workshops are full day events with lunch and refreshments provided. The workshops will all follow a similar structure, but with the main content (preferred draft policies and supporting text) being varied between marine plan areas. You are advised to register as soon as possible to guarantee your place. All workshops will run from 9.30am-4.00pm.
North east Newcastle Copthorne Hotel 29/01/19
North east Redcar Tuned In! 30/01/19
South west Newquay Sands Resort 05/02/19
South west Totnes Dartington Hall 06/02/19
South west Taunton Taunton Racecourse 07/02/19
South east Chelmsford County Hotel 12/02/19
South east Chatham George Hotel 13/02/19
North west Carlisle Tullie House 27/02/19
North west New Brighton Floral Pavilion 28/02/19

To find out more please visit: or contact




The Northern Ireland Marine Task Force (NIMTF), a coalition of non-government environmental organisations has responded to the Department of Housing Planning and Local Government’s consultation on the National Marine Planning Framework Baseline Report. The consultation response specifically focused on question 7 of the consultation: ‘What measures do you think should be put in place to support optimal transboundary (including cross-border with Northern Ireland and with other parts of the UK) cooperation on marine planning?

NIMTF noted “transboundary cooperation is a critical component of Marine Spatial Planning” and highlighted that where these had not been previously taken into        consideration sufficiently for example in the cases of the transboundary loughs (Carlingford and Foyle) this has led to environmental vulnerabilities.  The use of existing cooperation mechanisms (both legislation and institutional structures) is important and by doing so, duplication of effort is minimised and momentum built upon. NIMTF suggested Legal instruments such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the OSPAR Commission, transboundary stakeholder groups such as the Irish Seas Maritime Forum. They also stated that existing mechanisms for specifically relating to cooperation on the island of Ireland developed under the Good Friday Agreement such as the British – Irish Council and the North – South Ministerial Council should be utilised. The full response from the NIMTF can be accessed here.



Dec 17

The Country Information Profile for Spain now includes the latest developments regarding the progress on MSP. Currently, the Ministry of Ecological Transition (MITECO) is the authority for the coast and the marine environment as well as for biodiversity, while the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is the authority for the fisheries sector. Spain does currently not yet have a MSP at the national level. However, it is already actively working towards European deadlines through the work carried out by the Inter-Ministerial Commission on Marine Strategies (Comisión Interministerial de Estrategias Marinas - CIEM) and its Working Group for the Ordination of the Maritime Space (Grupo de Trabajo de Ordenación del Espacio Marítimo – GT-OEM), which is currently coordinating the tasks for creating the ordination plans (Planes de Ordenación del Espacio Marítimo- POEM).

View the Country Information Profile for Spain

The Echopolis conference took place on 26-28 November 2018 in Athens. The aim of the event was to draw attention to natural and cultural heritage as a defining element of 'place identity'. Both types of heritage bring communities together and builds shared understandings of the places we live in. Since 2018 is the European Year of Cultural Heritage, events are planned all over Europe to encourage people to discover and engage with Europe’s cultural and natural attractions, so as to enhance our sense of a European belonging. This means that natural and cultural heritage should be recognized, understood, planned and managed together.  

At the same time, it may enhance the efficiency of place-based policies. To meet these expectations also in the framework of planning, MSP processes need high quality spatial data on both the natural and cultural values of sea areas and on the existing human uses and pressures. Moreover, there is a need to understand the intrinsic spatial relationships of the patterns of cultural and natural values and human uses in order to deliver well-informed planning solutions. The Interreg BalticRIM project is dealing with these topics and has compiled a spatial database of underwater marine cultural heritage data (wrecks), data of marine nature values (biodiversity, key species), abiotic environmental data (depth, wave exposure etc.), human uses and pressures data (Baltic Sea Pressure Index, shipping intensity, hydro-morphological alterations etc.) for some parts of the Baltic Sea. During one of the conference sessions, partners from the BalticRIM project representing the archaeological side (State Archaeology Department of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany; Finnish Heritage Agency and Estonian Heritage Board) as well as from the planners side (s.Pro, Germany, and University of Tartu, Estonia) presented further aspects of their work on innovative management for Maritime Cultural Heritage and how to promote MCH within national MSP.

Read more about the Echopolis conference

Read more about BalticRIM

Thanks to the collaboration of all the Partners and Member States involved in the SIMWESTMED Project, the Report related to the sub-task  “Develop a basin-scale analysis/initial assessment strongly MSP orientated”, is completed.

The Report established by CORILA, collects and describes all the relevant information related to the project marine area, Western Mediterranean, about the main aspects that have to be considered in the MSP context. Starting from the national jurisdictions and the state of the implementation of MSP processes at country level, the Report describes the main aspects in terms of physical characteristics of the area and the marine environment by considering the representative habitats and species of the West Med.  All the major maritime uses and activities present in the area are described in their socio-economic aspects. The conflicts and synergies among uses, and uses and environment, are listed and described to ensure the adoption of the Ecosystem-based approach. The Report ends with the relevant trans-boundary issues identified by the different partners in order to favour the beginning of cross-border collaboration in the West Med.

The Initial Assessment report is available here:



The European Commission and the Co-Presidency of the Initiative for the sustainable development of the blue economy in the western Mediterranean organised the “Stakeholder conference: Towards concrete ‘blue’ actions in the western Mediterranean”, on Monday 3 December 2018 in Algiers, Algeria. 

The conference aimed to facilitate the exchange of project ideas and to promote concrete project development among stakeholders in the region operating in the maritime sector (businesses, researchers, institutes, national and local authorities belonging to the western Mediterranean Countries). Project ideas, concrete proposals and potential partnerships were discussed amongst the more than 280 attendants to the event at the working Labs that were organized. A number of financing sources were also discussed as concrete opportunities to move forward with those project ideas and The West Med Assistance Mechanism is now following up with participants and other interested stakeholders to further assess and support the project ideas with greater innovation potential.

Please consult the WestMed Initiative webpage ( for updated information.​

Dec 13

The status report of the Finnish maritime blue economy is completed. It is one part of the planning evidence for Finnish MSP´s.  According to the study, Finland has the greatest offshore wind power potential in the Baltic Sea region, but only one offshore wind power farm in production so far.  MSP´s can promote establishing maritime wind energy and so foster achieving global climate goals.

A research project BlueAdapt - Enhancing Adaptive Capacity for Sustainable Blue Growth financed by the the Academy of Finland has started. BlueAdapt project supports MSP by developing innovative means for supporting sustainable blue growth in food production, energy production and tourism.

Future scenarios for the Finnish maritime area will be developed in 2019. Scenarios will facilitate the dialogue with stakeholders and help in creating visions and targets for the development of MSP´s. Scenarios will be drafted in cooperation with the Capful Ltd.

Many EU co-financed projects support Finnish maritime spatial planning. In Pan Baltic SCOPE, stakeholders’ involvement into the planning process is enforced and a cross-border case study between Finland, the Åland Islands and  Sweden, FI-AX-SE –case, will be carried out. Plan4Blue is a MSP cooperation project between Finland and Estonia. It facilitates cooperation between planners and scientists and provides also future scenarios for the Gulf of Finland sea area.

More about Finnish MSP

Many developments are currently on-going that are relevant for the MSP process in Finland. The status report of the finnish maritime economy has now been completed and the research project BlueAdapt has started, which will look at how to enhance adaptive capacity for sustainable Blue Growth in Finland. 2019 will see the development of scenarios for the Finnish maritime space. In Pan Baltic Scope, a cross-border case study between Finland, the Åland islands and Sweden will be undertaken.

The consultation on proposed marine spatial plans for Sweden is completed.

'Many thanks to everyone who participated in the consultation, we value the time and effort you spent on this', says head of unit Thomas Johansson at the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management.

Earlier this year Sweden consulted on proposed marine spatial plans for Sweden, the strategic environmental assessment and the sustainability appraisal. The international consultation took place from June to October. The consultation was extensive. More than 160 organizations have expressed their views – public bodies, non-profit organizations and industry alike, ranging from municipalities, regions, national authorities and coastal county administrative boards to trade associations, companies, universities, individuals and neighbouring states.

The top three topics in terms of comments were nature, energy and attractive living environments. The most opposite views remain on offshore wind and nature. The plan system received good critiques in general. An intensive work is now underway at the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management in analyzing each opinion. The opinions are an important basis for further work on the marine spatial plans.

Next step – review in March

SwAM will publish revised proposals for plans in spring 2019, along with a consultation report. The final proposals are to be submitted to the government during December 2019.

Find more numbers and info at (in Swedish).

Dec 12

MMO Surveys


The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) would like to invite you to participate in voluntary surveys to help us gather information about use of the East Marine Plans and South Marine Plan. They request your participation by clicking the links below to access either or both of the surveys then completing and submitting by Friday 25th January 2019.

These surveys are part of marine plan monitoring for the East and South Marine Plan Areas as set out in the Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009) Section 61.
The MMO’s monitoring activity, including information gathered through surveys, is used to inform a three-yearly report to Parliament on the effects of policies in the marine plans, the effectiveness of these policies in securing plan objectives, and the progress towards achieving any objectives set out for that region in a marine plan and the Marine Policy Statement.
If you have any queries or would like to discuss any aspects of this survey or marine planning, please contact MMO's Marine Planning Officers:


Amy Balding:, based at the MMO Beverley office
Eleanor Johnston:, based at the MMO Lowestoft office


Mathilda Evans:, based at the MMO Shoreham office
Abby Haines:, based at the MMO Poole office

As part of MMO's marine plan monitoring work, it will also be conducting some follow-up interviews with stakeholders. If you would be willing to participate, please state this in response to the relevant question at the end of either or both of the surveys.


The MSP Platform organised a webinar series on the MSP for Blue Growth Study

The 2018 study gives information on how maritime spatial planning (MSP) can assist Member States to foster the potential for sustainable Blue Growth. Maritime spatial planning represents a key instrument for Blue Growth and can contribute to the aim of giving a boost to economic growth on the basis of a new maritime paradigm founded in sustainability, innovation, competitiveness and knowledge. The MSP for Blue Growth study explores the multi-faceted relationship between the two evolving concepts and provides practical, implementation-oriented outputs. The study was developed by the EU MSP Platform consortium for the European Commission, as part of their services to assist EU Member States with implementation of the EU MSP Directive (2014/89/EU).

Each webinar in this series introduced participants to one of the three study components, and presenters answered questions from participants. The topics were:

Further details and a recording of each webinar is available below.


Developing Visions in MSP: an Introduction to the Handbook

Webinar: 7 November 2018, 16:00 CET

The purpose of the Visions Handbook is to assist planners in developing a maritime vision or a strategy, as well as assisting those who wish to prepare the terms of reference for facilitating a vision process. The handbook provides quick and easy access to relevant tools and methods, building on lessons learnt from vision development processes across Europe. It indicates a range of possibilities for working with visions, showcasing options and ideas, rather than being prescriptive.

The presentation covered different tools and methods that can be used for developing a vision, different formats a vision making process could result in, and discuss usefulness of such processes and their outputs for MSP. The presentation answered some practical questions including: 
•    How to conduct background research for the vision development process, including analysis of the existing policy context and future trends in maritime sectors?
•    When is it useful to develop scenarios or forecasts and how can they be developed?
•    What are the benefits of involving stakeholders and what are some useful interactive methods that can be used in different stages of the process?
•    How to best communicate the vision as to foster ownership and commitment?
•    What additional literature sources and examples can aid future vision development process?

The Visions Handbook can be found here on the EU MSP Platform website:

A recording of this webinar is now available:

Investigating Current and Future Spatial Demands of Key Maritime Sectors

Webinar: 21 November 2018 at 16:00 CET

The sector fiches deal mainly with the MSP dimension in the expected evolution of the analysed sectors, putting the focus on investigating current and future potential spatial demands of the sectors. At the same time, the fiches look at the interaction that exists among sectors, and offer a set of concrete recommendations to inform MSP processes. Finally, the fiches aim at being a solid first information source listing the most relevant actors, initiatives, and available literature in the sector in question.

The presentation covered the following topics:
•    What are the present spatial needs of each sector?
•    Which anticipated future developments of each sector are relevant to MSP?
•    What recommendations can be made to support the sectors in MSP processes?

Sector fiches can be found on the EU MSP Platform website at:

A recording of this webinar is now available:


Developing Indicators for MSP: an Introduction to the Handbook

Webinar: 5 December at 16:00 CET

The Indicators Handbook presents a step-by-step approach to developing MSP indicators. In particular, the Handbook aims to provide the maritime spatial planning community with suggestions on the use of spatial indicators that could support the consideration of Blue Growth in MSP processes. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions for MSP and related indicator development, which is why the Handbook offers a flexible approach with examples of possible indicators that need to be customised to the local contexts.

The presentation covered the following topics: 
•    How to define SMART objectives?
•    Making the links between objectives and indicators
•    Identification of sources of information
•    How to define baselines?
•    How to define target values, while considering external factors and assumptions

The Indicators Handbook can be found on the EU MSP Platform website at:

A recording of the webinar is now available:


The English version of the initial outline for the Estonian MSP and the memorandum of intention to conduct impact assessment is now available. The document will also be shared with Baltic Sea countries for their information. 


More information about MSP in Estonia can be found on the Estonia country page.