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.




Oct 23

The PERICLES project promotes sustainable, participatory governance of cultural heritage in European coastal and maritime regions. Its aim is to develop and demonstrate a comprehensive framework for understanding, preserving and utilizing maritime cultural heritage.

To discover virtually this project, please check out the new Pericles Story Map and explore the current issues in coastal and maritime cultural heritage by taking a tour through the 8 European case regions.

A new study, requested by the European Parliament's Committee on Fisheries, is now available online. The study provides an overview of the general impacts of the development of offshore renewables on fisheries in European sea basins. It further highlights pathways for possible co-existence solutions for both sectors, a description of best practice examples and lessons learnt, research gaps, and policy recommendations.

Fore more information, please refer to the summary and publication

The Strategic Guidelines for the sustainable development of EU aquaculture, adopted in 2013 (COM 2013/229), have set common priorities and targets for the development of aquaculture activities in the EU. Given developments impacting the sector, including the COVID 19 crisis, as well as the potential of the sector to contribute to policy objectives identified by the new Commission such as decarbonisation, sustainable food systems or the economic development of coastal and inland areas, the Commission is now reviewing these guidelines to support Member States and the sector in further developing aquaculture production in the EU and ensuring the sustainability and competitiveness of this economic activity.

This consultation intends to provide the public with an opportunity to contribute to the discussion on main challenges, opportunities and priorities for EU aquaculture in the future, which will feed the review of the Strategic Guidelines scheduled to be adopted in late 2020.

Questionnaires are available in some or all official EU languages. You can submit your responses in any official EU language.

Please find more information and respond to the questionnaire here (the deadline for feedbacks submission is 27 October 2020).

Oct 16

Have you missed MSP news from the past couple of weeks? Don't worry, it is possible to catch up thanks to our review. Here you can find a selection of some of the most relevant news from the past few weeks:

Have a pleasant weekend and see you soon for more MSP news in a nutshell!

The MSPglobal Initiative participated in the Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) panel during the All-Atlantic Summit 2020, dedicated to “Clean and Productive Coasts, Bays and Estuaries”, opening the session with a presentation on the ecosystem-based approach concept. One of the roles of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO is to promote the ecosystem-based MSP processes through MSPglobal - MSP roadmap.

Please read the full article here

Oct 14

New training opportunities are now presented on the MSP Platform. Among them is an elective course on Maritime Spatial Planning, organised by the University Centre of the Westfjords in Iceland. The training will be provided on 15-26 March 2021.

Please check the MSP Platform Training page for more details.

Oct 13

The Marine Institute is inviting the people of Ireland to share their opinions and comment on the draft assessment, a key technical study for the Irish National Marine Planning Framework. The draft assessment is available for download here. Feedback may be submitted via the online survey.

The survey will be open from Wednesday 7th October to Friday 30th October.

Access the full article here.

The materials from the webinar The effects of climate change in marine spatial planning: pathways and solutions, conducted on 1 October 2020, are now available online. 

Please access the video of the webinar and other relevant documentation here.



At the Offshore Wind Conference, organised by the Polish Wind Energy Association (PSEW), eight Baltic Sea countries (Poland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia) and the European Commission signed a joint declaration to accelerate the build-out of new offshore wind capacities in the Baltic Sea.

Please access the full text of the article here.




Oct 05

The Natural Environment Minister, Mairi Gougeon, announced the establishment of a new deep sea Marine Protected Area off the West of Scotland. The new MPA will provide additional protection to some of the deepest parts of Scotland’s seas, protecting unique deep sea marine ecosystems.

Please access the full text of the article here.


Relevant documentation from the Stage 3 Transboundary Consultation Meeting on Estonian MSP (23.09.2020) is now available online.

Please see here for more information.

The consortium of the BANOS CSA is now mid-way through developing the framework for the future, intended Baltic and North Sea Research and Development Programme (BANOS). This is a good time to look back and remind ourselves and our stakeholders how the 13 Baltic and North Sea coastal countries involved (BE, DK, EE, FR, DE, LV, LT, NL, NO, PL, SE, UK and FI as observer) through their major national R&I funders think about the rationale behind joining the two regional seas for a joint programme.

Please proceed to the EC website for more information.

The fifth and final call for the EU-funded MaRINET2 project opened on 1 September 2020.

The MaRINET2 offers free access to a world-leading network of testing and research infrastructures. Successful applications will receive free access to four EMEC’s offshore test sites with varying resources and a range of associated testing equipment.

The Call is open to offshore energy technology developers, including offshore wind, wave and tidal energy at full system, subsystem, component or sensor level. Companies are required to have a base outwith the UK or a member of their team based overseas.

The fifth call will close on 16 October 2020.

Successful applicants will receive free access to test facilities between 18 January – 17 July 2021.

For additional information please contact EMEC or MaRINET2.

Sep 07
07.09.2020 - 14.09.2020

Have you dreamed of addressing challenges in the marine environment using MSP? Now you have the possibility to inspire the EU’s Oceans Mission with your ideas!

The EU missions ‘citizen science’ project has been launched and will run from 1st September to 14th September 2020.

The goal is to provide citizens with the opportunity to react to ideas that result from the ten pilot citizen engagement deliberative events that have taken place over the summer across the five Missions in Romania, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Czech Republic, France and Poland. 

The results of the project will be announced on 22 September during the European Research and Innovation Days 2020.

Please find out more about the Mission area: Healthy oceans, seas, coastal and inland waters.



The event Presentation of Maritime Spatial Plan Slovenia (in Slovenian language only) will take place on 18 September 2020 in Izola (Slovenia).

More information about the event will be available soon.

Interested participants are required to register here.

Further instructions will be communicated via e-mail in due time.

You are invited to take part in the BalticRIM autumn webinars “People Love the Sea” disseminating BalticRIM Project results and promoting the Baltic Sea Region Maritime Cultural Heritage and Maritime Spatial Planning. 


Webinar 1: Thursday, 10 September 2020 at 10.00 - 12.30 CET / 11.00 - 13.30 EEST

“Added values of our Oceans, Seas and Baltic Sea Maritime Cultural Heritage for the Society and Maritime Spatial Planning”.

Registration is open!


Webinar 2: Friday, 11 September 2020 at 10.00 – 12.45 CET /  11.00 – 13.45 EEST

“Baltic Sea Region Blue Growth and Maritime Cultural Heritage showcases”. 


Webinar 3: Monday, 14 September 2020 

"Towards BalticRIM Maritime Cultural Heritage and Maritime Spatial Planning Recommendations".


Please register in advance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinars.

Additional information is available at

Sep 03

The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of the Environment are preparing for the stage 3 transboundary consultation on the Estonian Maritime Spatial Plan that will be held virtually on 23 September 2020 at 13:00 - 16:00 EET (12:00 - 15:00 CET).

The language of the meeting is English.

Additional information will be sent to the registered participants.

Please register here






The Irish Sea Maritime Forum, supported by the University of Liverpool, is conducting an Irish-sea wide survey to look to the future and the changing context of the Irish Sea in the 2020s and to develop a vision for the Irish Sea.

The aim is to develop a comprehensive picture of the future for the Irish Sea and its communities on a whole Irish Sea scale by asking for your views on:

  • What the Irish Sea means to you?
  • What are the current and future issues and opportunities?
  • What key projects are taking place around the Irish Sea?
  • What Brexit and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic might mean for the Irish Sea and its communities?

The ISMF welcomes responses from all sectors and communities around the Irish Sea.

You can access the survey by following this link.

Five recorded webinars have been produced by the Welsh Government to provide an overview of Marine Planning in Wales and the Welsh National Marine Plan (WNMP).

The webinars cover:

To enable easier access to the Welsh National Marine Plan policies and objectives, web content on the Marine Wales website has been developed. You can view a summary of the eleven sectors contained within the WNMP (Aggregates, Aquaculture, Defence, Dredging and Disposal, Energy – Low Carbon, Energy – Oil and Gas, Fisheries, Ports and Shipping, Sub-sea cabling, Surface water and wastewater treatment and Disposal and Tourism and recreation) including background information about the sector, the sector’s objective and the sector policy.


A new project report has recently been published on the SIMAtlantic website!

The report D1.1 Description of MSP relevant information for Atlantic countries (January 2020) initiates an investigation of relevant information supporting the implementation of Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) in the European Atlantic. It provides an overview of the baseline environmental and biological characteristics and legal arrangements for Maritime Spatial Planning in the Atlantic region. It also provides detailed information on the geography of the region including a description of benthic and pelagic habitats, physical features, oceanographic characteristics, legal and governance arrangements for MSP in five Atlantic European countries involved in the SIMAtlantic project: France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland and England). 


To advise the IOC Secretariat in the design, development and implementation of the Decade communication and outreach initiatives, the IOC Secretariat is forming a group of Communication Experts from around the world - the Decade Communications Advisory Group!

IOC-UNESCO is looking for experts with relevant experience in communications, marketing and public relations, related to one or more of the following fields: 

  • Sustainable Development 
  • Marine knowledge and research, ocean observation and monitoring, oceanography 
  • Maritime security and surveillance 
  • International ocean governance 
  • Maritime economy 
  • Marine and maritime data and information processing and analysis 
  • Local governance 
  • Community-Led Local Development 
  • Social and human sciences 
  • Indigenous knowledge 
  • Ocean Literacy 
  • Philanthropy 
  • Any other field deemed connected/relevant to the UN Decade of Ocean Science

Please see the Terms of Reference and Expression of Interest Form for details, and register before 23:59 CET on 4 September 2020!


Aug 14

The deadline of the Green Deal Call for Tenders is extended to 30 September 2020.

How accurate are vessel density maps derived from AIS signals captured by satellites?

Please see the tender documents for more details.


In view of the European objective to decarbonize Europe before 2050, there is a need to understand and anticipate future interaction and possible conflict between fisheries and windfarms and associated mitigating approaches. In 2019, under the Assistance Mechanism for MSP, a preliminary study was conducted on the subject. Building on examples from North Sea countries and France, it provided a detailed overview of the principal sources of conflict, as well as a set of 14 solutions implemented to deal with them. The short background study "Recommendations for positive interactions between offshore wind farms and fisheries" is now available on the EU website.

The objective of the study is to provide further insight to the actual interactions between the two sectors, building on the most recent documentation available. The study aims to answer the following questions:

  • What are the tensions/conflicts between offshore wind farms and fisheries?
  • How have these conflicts been addressed in EU Member States (at policy level, planning level and operational level)?
  • Can some best practices be identified that could be duplicated?
  • What could be done to better assess potential conflicts?
  • Are there potential synergies that could be developed to mitigate these conflicts and improve cohabitation?


With maritime space in increasingly high demand, due to competition between different sectors, Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) can be a determining factor for the development of the blue economy. This study aims to explore evidence of effects stemming from the current state of implementation of MSP, with a particular focus on economic effects, so to provide EU Member States with additional
information on how to maximise its benefits. The first part of the study consists of a review and an analysis of existing economic literature on the costs and benefits of MSP. In the second part, the authors develop five case studies to estimate the economic impact of MSP in countries where, albeit at different levels, this has been implemented: Belgium, Germany (Baltic Sea), Scotland, Norway (North Sea and Skagerrak), Rhode Island. The preliminary results of the study were discussed with economists and stakeholders at a workshop that took place in Brussels in October 2019. The comments received during the workshop were taken into account for the preparation of the Final Report.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that the 2020 Call for Proposals includes a number of novel concepts and eligibility conditions, the deadline for proposals submission is extended from 10 September to 10 November 2020. 

Please proceed the EU website for more information.


An updated action plan for a sustainable, resilient and competitive blue economy in the European Union Atlantic area is now available on the EU website

Please access A new approach to the Atlantic maritime strategy – Atlantic action plan 2.0 for more details. 




A Marine Spatial Planning Framework for Areas beyond National Jurisdiction, published by the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, is available online. This document explores how marine spatial planning (MSP) could be applied within areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). MSP is defined as: “a public process of analysing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic, and social objectives that are usually specified through a political process” (Ehler & Douvere, 2009). ABNJ describes the water column beyond Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) or beyond the territorial sea where no EEZ has been declared, as well as the seabed beyond the limits of the continental shelf, known as ‘the Area’ (Kimball, 2005).

The document is available in English and Spanish.

Jul 15

Targeted consultation on International Ocean Governance is launched! The consultation aims at assessing development needs and options for the Agenda in light of today’s challenges and opportunities to deliver ocean-related targets of Agenda 2030 and in particular the Sustainable Development Goal on Conservation and sustainable use of the oceans (SDG14) in support of the European Green Deal.

Stakeholders within and beyond Europe including public authorities, policy-makers, international organisations, NGOs, financial institutions, academic, scientific, social and economic partners are invited to participate until 15 October.

The consultation complements the International Ocean Governance Forum, launched with a virtual event on 22-24 April 2020.

Please find more information here.

The volume of Europa XXI journal titled “MARINE AND COASTAL SPACE” has been recently published!

Please access the publications here.



The recently formed Technical Expert Group on MSP Data has been established to increase dialogue within the European MSP community and to move towards more robust and common standards in terms of MSP-related data collection and delivery. Under the TEG, a working sub-group has been set to focus on harmonization issues and to identify or elaborate potential common data models (structure, format, nomenclature, etc.).

The 1st meeting of this working sub-group took place in May 2020 and brought together more than 40 MSP experts, and was organized around four talks providing insight on harmonization methods developed under the following European projects and data initiatives: HELCOM-VASAB, MarSP, SIM projects and EMODnet.


Insights from 4 European MSP projects and initiatives

In 2018 the HELCOM-VASAB working group on MSP data delivered guidelines for output data, including data specifications, technical requirements, and harmonization in the MSP context. This 13-page document is available at: and has been identified by the TEG as a robust and transferable method. The proposed flat data model has been identified as a relevant standard for plan data, allowing one to distinguish different types of space allocation, from priority to exclusion, and using controlled vocabulary for sea uses. The data model has been put to practice in, an online geographic data portal that provides both input and output data from the MSP process in the Baltic Sea. This advanced example has already been a source of inspiration for other European data portals.


The INSPIRE-based MSP data model developed in MarSP is an extended version of Planned Land Use INSPIRE model, including classification system for maritime activities and allows one to consider the vertical dimension of sea uses. It has been discussed and tested during a dedicated workshop in 2019 and implemented in the Canaries MSP platform. The INSPIRE dimension of this data model makes it a consistent and transferable model by design, which could be a strong advantage to consider for all Member-States’ plans to come. The model includes a base for cumulative impact assessment (PLASMAR+ project 2020-2022) and land-sea interaction analyses. Resources available for applying the data model are Data specification document (V1.0), as related templates (xsd-gml; GeoPackage and ESRI shapefiles). 


Within each of the SIM cross-border projects (Celt, -Wetsmed, -Norat, -Atlantic), data portals were setup to bring together MSP datasets made available by member states. These have mostly concerned MSP input data as of now, but specific attention is given to output data within the on-going SIM-Atlantic project. To this end, the French Hydrographic and Oceanographic Institute (SHOM) is disseminating a survey to member states to assess their current standards in terms of output data (format, language, licences).


In advance of the 2021 deadline to provide all member-states marine spatial plans online, the EMODnet – Human Uses Activities portal team hosted by CETMAR institute has developed a proposal for a common nomenclature of ocean uses, which is based on plans that have already been approved and is continuously updated. It is meant to ensure the use of a standardized vocabulary. The dimension of translation will also be of key importance, a challenge for which the work provided by HELCOM-VASAB MSP Data expert group ( in the Baltic could help to include more and more languages and move to possible multilanguage options.

Jul 06

Mr Barry Cowen TD (Fianna Fáil) is the new Minister for Agriculture and the Marine. Fianna Fáil is affiliated to the RENEW political group in the European Parliament.



We are committed to prioritising the development of the marine. As an island nation, Ireland has a special relationship with the ocean. Everything must be done to protect marine biodiversity and to secure a sustainable future for the fisheries sector while supporting coastal communities.

We will:

Develop a new integrated marine sustainable development plan, as a successor to Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, focusing on all aspects of the marine, with a greater focus on sustainability and stakeholder engagement and centrally co-ordinated by the Department of the Taoiseach to be implemented over the life of the Government.
Ensure protection of the interests of the Irish Fishing industry by insisting that a Fisheries Agreement with the UK is concluded as an integral part of an overall EU Free Trade Agreement with the UK.
Recognise that the critical issue in these negotiations for the Irish industry is continued access to UK waters and quota share and the danger of displacement of the EU fleet into Irish territorial waters.
Seek EU Commission contingency supports and market disturbance funding for the fisheries sector to mitigate against the impact of COVID-19 and Brexit.
Ensure that inshore waters continue to be protected for smaller fishing vessels and recreational fishers and that pair trawling will be prohibited inside the six-mile limit.
Support the inshore fishing fleet in generating greater marketing and promotional capacity by facilitating the establishment of a Producer Organisation for these smaller fishing vessels, thereby providing additional opportunity for the island and coastal communities involved in the inshore sector.
Aggressively tackle the issue of waste, ghost nets and illegal dumping in the marine environment through rigorous implementation of the Port Reception Facilities Directives and by requiring all Irish fishing trawlers to participate in the Clean Oceans Initiative, ensuring that plastic fished up at sea is brought ashore.
Continue to invest in coastline communities through the Fisheries Local Area Group (FLAG) programme, providing support for innovative projects to boost economic growth and job creation.
Invest strategically in harbour infrastructure to attract increased landings into Ireland of sustainably caught fish in our waters, driving the development of the seafood processing sector and the blue economy in coastal communities.
Work to develop the aquaculture sector in a sustainable way, including shellfish aquaculture using native species, and implement the recommendations of the report of the Independent Aquaculture Licencing Review Group, to ensure that feed products for aquaculture are sourced and produced in the most sustainable manner possible.
We will progress a national policy on coastal erosion and flooding having regard to climate change.


Common Fisheries Policy

We are fully committed to the environmental objectives of the CFP, which has introduced measures aimed at sustaining fish stocks, through the ending of discards, quotas based on science and the internationally recognised concept of Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY).

We will:

Actively promote setting annual quotas in line with MSY principles.
Promote the introduction of constructive technical measures that promote sustainability, decrease by-catch and protect fish stocks for the future.
Protect Ireland’s interests in the future review of the Common Fisheries Policy.
Work to eliminate illegal fishing and promote a culture of compliance by all EU vessels in our 200-mile zone, in order to protect the fish stocks on which the Irish Fishing industry depends.
Implement the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) capability review with a view to enhancing governance issues and consider any other measures that may be necessary.
Implement a fair EU points system in order to protect fish stocks and ensure the release of suspended EU funding.
Work to retain factory weighing of pelagic fish in the context of negotiations on the new EU control regulation.
Support the completion of the new Fisheries Control Regulation to increase the effectiveness of existing control measures and agree rules that will ensure a level playing field for all EU vessels. Increasing the level of transparency and access to information in regards to infringements within Irish waters will be key to measuring the effectiveness of the new system.


Marine Protection Areas

We support the principles and ambition of the EU Biodiversity Strategy and will develop comprehensive legislation for the identification, designation and management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Irish territorial waters. We will realise our outstanding target of 10% under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive as soon as is practical and aim for 30% of marine protected areas by 2030. This will be done on the basis of scientific expertise and in close consultation with all stakeholders, in particular the fishing industry as well as environmental and community representatives. This consultation process will begin in the first 100 days of Government. We will examine the establishment of an offshore maritime area as Ireland’s seventh national park. This would form part of the expanded MPA’s and allow for a learning experience in the maritime environment.


Marine Planning

The Government will prioritise the passage of a balanced and Aarhus Convention compliant Marine and Planning and Development Management Bill through the Oireachtas. We will publish Ireland’s first ever marine spatial planning policy setting out a clear vision for the future development of our marine planning system. The development of this policy will involve a full public and stakeholder consultation.

Following completion of this, we will bring forward Ireland’s first ever National Marine Planning Framework. This will introduce a planning system for the development of Ireland’s maritime area in the same way that the National Planning Framework fulfils this function on land. These two documents will form the basis for Project Ireland Marine 2040, our long-term overarching strategy to manage Ireland’s seas for the benefit of all its people. A marine planning oversight delivery board on the same model as the Project Ireland 2040 Delivery Board will be established to provide leadership and oversight to the implementation of these policies.


Coastal Blue Carbon

We recognise the enormous ‘blue carbon’ potential that the ocean has to offer in tackling climate change but we appreciate that further scientific research is needed to understand and develop this potential. We will task the Marine Institute with a collaborative EU wide research initiative, aimed at investigating the climate change mitigation potential of blue carbon and working towards a means of creating a validated inventory that will in the future assist the EU in meeting our climate change objectives.



We will defend the interests of Irish agriculture, fisheries, export businesses and the wider economy. The priorities in the negotiations include:

A tariff free, quota free, trade agreement with strong level playing field provisions, including robust environmental and labour standards.
Achieving the best possible deal for the Irish fishing industry in relation to access conditions, quota shares and the traditional activity of the EU fleet while insisting that fisheries issues are dealt with as part of an overall trade deal.

The European Commission has today welcomed the adoption by the European Parliament of the Taxonomy Regulation – a key piece of legislation that will contribute to the European Green Deal by boosting private sector investment in green and sustainable projects.

Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union said: “The adoption of the Taxonomy Regulation today marks a milestone in our green agenda. It creates the world's first ever classification system of environmentally sustainable economic activities, which will give a real boost to sustainable investments. It also formally establishes the Platform on Sustainable Finance. This Platform will play a crucial role in the development of the EU Taxonomy and our sustainable finance strategy over the coming years.”

It will help create the world's first-ever “green list” – a classification system for sustainable economic activities – that will create a common language that investors can use everywhere when investing in projects and economic activities that have a substantial positive impact on the climate and the environment. By enabling investors to re-orient investments towards more sustainable technologies and businesses, this piece of legislation will be instrumental for the EU to become climate neutral by 2050.

As set out by the Regulation, the Commission has also launched today a call for applications for members of the Platform on Sustainable Finance. This platform will be an advisory body composed of experts from the private and public sector. It will assist the Commission in the preparation of technical screening criteria (the so-called ‘delegated acts'), which will develop the taxonomy further.

A full press release is available here. You may also visit the dedicated webpage on the Platform.


The Mentimeter engagement report and presentations held during the UNITED Webinar "Challenges, Risks, and Barriers for the Large-Scale Commerical Roll-out of Ocean Multi-Use", conducted on 3 June 2020, are now available on the UNITED project website.



The recordings of the sessions and presentations from the BLUEWEEK2020 are now available on the BlueForum website.



A new article, examining the scope for strategic spatial planning across the land-sea interface, through the case of the Dutch North Sea 2050 strategy, has been published in the Regional Studies Journal. 

Please access the publication here.

The Conference Report of the Hamburg Workshop on Spatial Strategies at the Land-Sea Interface (11–13 September 2019, University of Hamburg) is now published in the Town Planning Review.

Please access the Report here

A new online publication, presenting the results of a spatial and temporal comparative analysis on vessel traffic during lockdown in the Veneto Region (Italy) is now available in Science of the Total Environment. The study reveals impacts on the maritime sectors in the study area, as well as ecological and socio-economic effects induced by the lockdown. 

Please access the article here.

While the COVID crisis swept across every member state and disrupted all sectors of the economy, what happened at sea? And how did Europe react to this crisis? With a majority of fleet locked ashore, auctions closed and shipping halted, the maritime sector has been severely impacted since April 2020. Hopefully, Europe and Member States teamed up to bring support to all aboard this same boat.

A series of measures were taken by the European Commission, with support of the European Council and European Parliament to steer the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund towards emergency measures coming to the economic rescue of severely hit sectors such as fisheries and aquaculture industries. To explore these measures in details, please refer to COVID factsheet published by EC DG MARE and the European Council declaration. In addition to these institutional measures, other initiatives have emerged to provide support and inspiration to the multiple sectors and SMEs hit by the crisis, such as this dashboard of coastal communities initiatives published by the FARNET network, or this COVID Response Forum managed by the European Cluster Collaboration Platform designed to support SMEs and the industry.

Jun 05

On 20th May, an International information and consultation webinar was organised by the Finnish Authorities to provide information on the status of MSP in Finland and the Åland Islands to neighbouring countries. The Finnish Maritime Spatial Draft Plan 2030 is available for national and international consultation from the 18th of May – 17th of June 2020. It is open to anyone to give feedback on the plans. One can give feedback either on the internet on MSP pages or by sending an email to the contact points. More info on

Jun 04

Germany is currently undertaking an MSP revision process in its EEZ. In April, the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie - BSH) organized an international meeting to present and discuss the first concept for the revision of the maritime spatial plans for the German exclusive economic zone of the North Sea and Baltic Sea. The virtual meeting was attended by Member States from the North and Baltic Sea regions, as well as representatives of the European Commission DG-MARE and the European MSP Assistance Mechanism.

BSH developed a concept for the MSP revision based on the analysis of the maximum requirements of each sector, overlaying uses for identification of hotspots, and development of 3 plausible planning options from different perspectives, including traditional maritime uses, climate protection, and nature protection. Plans containing proposed spatial designations were presented for various sectors, such as shipping, offshore wind energy, cables and pipelines, resource extraction, nature protection and scientific research. Defence, fisheries and aquaculture, underwater cultural heritage and leisure/tourism were addressed at last in terms of regulations and planned approaches.

Currently, Germany is offering to neighbouring countries, additional bilateral meetings and will start elaborating a full first draft MSP document covering both the North and Baltic Sea, and the first draft of SEA / Environmental Reports for North and Baltic Sea. MSP and SEA Reports and Public Consultation are expected to be published in the 3rd/4th quarter of 2020, followed by a revised Plan and SEA report in the 1st quarter of 2021. National and international consultations are conducted at all steps of the MSP revision process in Germany.

More information including:

Jun 04

Virtual Reality for Maritime Spatial Planning – updates from the MSP Challenge and Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management

Have you ever had the chance to visit an offshore wind farm in full operation? If you have, then what about an experimental farm with floating turbines? How instructional would it be if you could monitor its two-year construction process in only 15 minutes? Then jump into MSP in Virtual reality! 

Perhaps, you want to change a few parameters such as rotor blade size or distance between the turbines. Then flash to shore and see how the new wind farm will change the seascape. Now experience your new wind farms as a seagull or harbour porpoise. Virtual and Augmented Reality can realize this. The Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) Challenge simulation platform ( has been designed to help decision-makers, stakeholders, and students understand and manage the maritime (blue) economy and marine environment. Using advanced game technology and game thinking, it is designed to engage and immerse users, making it a perfect environment for stakeholder engagement, planning through co-design, learning, and education. 3D Ocean View adds immersive visualization to the MSP Challenge simulation platform. The module is still a Proof of Concept (PoC).

A second demo adds a seagull or harbour porpoise perspective to MSP. To keep up to date with these developments, contact the team through the MSP Challenge website, the Digishape website or follow them on Twitter.


A contribution by:

Jun 04

Would you like to enhance your knowledge about the MSP in Europe? Discover the recent additions to the platform here.



The 18th Meeting of the MSEG on MSP took place on Wednesday 13th May 2020. Due to the unprecedented circumstances at present, the meeting was held online.

Updates were provided by all 20 of the Member States represented at the MSEG Meeting regarding the status of their MSP plans and the latest developments at the national level. In several cases, the national consultation process has been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

The Commission (DG MARE) and EASME informed participants about the different activities that they are undertaking to facilitate the implementation of the EU MSP Directive such as studies on subjects such as the application of the Ecosystems Based Approach in MSP or on tools for the assessment, monitoring and revision of Maritime Spatial Plans. The Commission also updated Member States about progress in the preparation for the launch of the Call for Proposals 2020 for EU cross-border cooperation projects in MSP.

The Assistance Mechanism (AM) for MSP presented its updated workplan. Following the receipt of requests for support by eight member states and subsequent analysis, the AM has defined a series of technical studies, knowledge exchange workshops and national technical assistance which it shall seek to undertake in support of Member States.

Updates were also provided by a number of regional organisations and programmes, including the WWF, JPI Oceans, Seas at Risk, Bird Life and The European Environment Agency. In addition, several active cross-border studies presented the state of play of the project, including; Integrating Ecosystem-Based Approach into MSP; MARSPLAN-BS II; SimAtlantic Project; Ocean Metiss and MSP-MED.

Find out more about resources and position papers discussed during this 18th MSEG (online) edition:

As populations worldwide are struggling out of the COVID crisis, the coast and the open sea never looked so appealing to individuals and their families as a free breathing space. But this crisis should not let us forget that the ocean is under unprecedented pressure from the cumulative effects of the climate crisis, biodiversity loss and further degradation from human activities. The sustainable development of marine planning in Europe requires partnerships and collaborations that cross sectors, disciplines and scales in order to address the complexity of these multiple global and local challenges.

The complex mix of pressures pose a threat not only for marine and coastal environments but also human health such as increased flooding, storms, food insecurity and pollution. Alternatively, we are only just beginning to understand the incredible health and wellbeing benefits to be realised from access to and engagement with healthy marine environments, or ‘blue space’. These ‘well-being’ and therapeutic benefits, in particular for mental health, offer huge potential when addressing the growing psychological distress that will continue long after the coronavirus pandemic is over.

While we have legislated widely to regulate the impacts of human activities on the marine environment, and devised mechanisms to monitor and measure these impacts, we have not fully considered, in turn, the impacts of the marine environment (and marine environmental degradation) on human health. The coronavirus pandemic starkly highlights the need to better understand these human-environment interlinkages, in addition to the need for adaptive policies and mutual cooperation and support on a global scale.

From a marine planning and policy perspective, Oceans and Human Health seeks to deliver new knowledge and understanding that can offer a more sustainable, integrated and holistic approach, linking global-to-local issues. Oceans and Human Health (OHH) is an emerging meta-discipline exploring the complex and inextricable links between the health of the ocean and that of humans. This linkage between ocean health and public health underscores how urgently interdisciplinary cooperation is needed among researchers and decision-makers. The inter- and trans-disciplinarity of OHH is incredibly important in the context of marine spatial planning, offering a lens and approach to address complex, dynamic and systemic issues related to marine and human interactions.

A participatory and inclusive approach was adopted and advocated by the EU-funded H2020 SOPHIE research partnership in the recently published Strategic Research Agenda for Oceans and Human Health in Europe.[1]. The newly launched Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) on oceans and human health showcases how deeply interconnected the health of people and the marine environment are. It outlines vital research priorities, and new collaborations and partnerships needed to inform policies and practices to protect the health of seas, oceans and people.

Partnership-building and collaborative work carried out by the SOPHIE project included multi-stakeholder ‘Conversations’, online and in-person, engaging thousands of expert and citizen stakeholders across Europe, to identify key priorities and actions for OHH. Thousands of priorities were generated and categorised into 49 priority categories. Expert and citizen stakeholders were invited to attend workshops in 2019 with the aim to gain a deeper insight into multi-stakeholders’ priorities for Oceans and Human Health by building consensus through a Collective Intelligence methodology.

Following this process, meta-analysis revealed nine priority themes that are most influential for OHH in Europe, illustrated in the SOPHIE multistage influence map, read from left to right in order of greatest influence (Fig. 1). This map highlights the causal processes that drive OHH dynamics in Europe and how priorities influence each other.

Figure 1. SOPHIE multistage influence map of stakeholder priorities for OHH in Europe.

The influence map highlights a need to link knowledge with practice in a way that can support and promote sustainable actions and greater citizen engagement. This presents opportunities for transdisciplinary research and partnership building between research scientists and decision-makers in marine science and planning, social sciences and public health.

As a marine spatial planning tool, the map can be used by different organisations, institutions in different sectors and countries e.g. policy makers, marine scientists, public health, industry and media – enabling decision-makers to see how combined efforts and coordinated and integrated approaches are the way forward.

For more information and to help share the SRA so we can carry the Oceans and Human Health Agenda forward until 2030 please visit:

A contribution by

Easkey Britton PhD, SOPHIE project partner at National University of Ireland Galway – contact




This is the question addressed by the article published in "The Fish Site". It suggests that the development of offshore platforms, combining aquaculture and renewable energy functions, has potential economic benefits for both sectors.

Please read the full article here.