The Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission assisted by the European MSP Platform have organised a one day workshop which is scheduled to take place on the 11th of September 2018 at the University of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, ES. The workshop will provide participants with the opportunity to explore the development of MSP in the context of islands as well the challenge that exist and opportunities for sustainable blue growth. Participants will learn about the experience of MSP in islands, including representation from islands of different status within the EU, from island nations such as Malta, to islands with some autonomy from mainland governments, such as Åland, Finland.

The objectives of the Workshop are to:

  • Identify common challenges and opportunities in developing and implementing MSP and delivering Blue Growth in island contexts
  • Discuss the socio-economic and specific environmental pressures faced by island communities and the (potential) role of MSP and Blue Growth
  • Highlight good practices with MSP that could be applied to islands contexts

Participants will achieve this via presentations from relevant experts, panel discussions and facilitated interactive sessions.

The workshop targets MSP Authorities, Local Municipalities and Community Groups, Blue Growth Sector representatives and other interested parties.

For questions, please contact

Please be advised that places are strictly limited and therefore registration does not confirm your attendance.






The Belgian federal government is organising a public consultation about the draft maritime spatial plan (MSP) for the Belgian part of the North Sea for the period 2020-2026 and about the environmental impact report. This consultation runs from the 29th of June until the 28th of September.

The first Belgian MSP dates back to 2014 and will remain in effect until 2020. Philippe De Backer, Minister of the North Sea, has now drawn up the new draft MSP which will be in effect from 2020 until 2026.

The main novelties in comparison to the previous MSP are:

  • New zones for renewable energy
  • A new nature conservation zone “Vlakte van de Raan”
  • Zones for industrial and commercial activities
  • A coastal protection zone
  • Optimization of existing zones for defence, sand extraction and dredging.

More information can be  found on

The new MSP is expected to be adopted Spring 2019.

More about Belgian MSP


The Irish Parliament voted in favour of a motion to designate 50% of Irish waters (800,000 km2) as a coherent network of MPAs. Although the motion is non-binding, the Irish Minister responsible for Housing, Planning and Local government pledged to bring an 'Ocean Bill' into legislation. Now only around 2% of the Irish maritime area is protected. 

More about MSP in Ireland

Jun 29

EASME has launched a tool to follow the progress of the Atlantic Strategy and accompanying Action Plan. The tool includes an interactive map; a list of projects and beneficiaries, and a statistic part. If you are a user, you can use filters to find key results, export statistics and data to your liking.

More about the Atlantic Maritime Data Hub

Jun 28

Sweden organised its cross-border consultation meeting on 19 June and the presentation given is available for download below.

The meeting discussed the progress of the Swedish MSP process, with special emphasis on cross-border issues, the strategic environmental assessment and transboundary environmental effects. Comments on the proposals for the maritime spatial plans for the Gulf of Bothnia, Baltic Sea and for Skagerrak and Kattegat may be sent in until 1 October.

The English versions of the Strategic Environmental Assessment Reports are available on the website, as well as short versions covering the main contents of the plan.

More about this event

Download the presentation here:

Jun 28

Many items have been added to the EU MSP Platform website in the month of June, take a look below!


Scottish Marine Protected Areas Socioeconomic Monitoring

Possibilities and challenges for MSP integration - Baseline-mapping and refined case study design

Maritime Spatial Plan for the Cross-Border Area Mangalia - Shabla

SIMCelt MSP Evaluation Report


MESH - Survey Scoping Tool

Strategic Environmental Assessment Better Practice Guide

CPMR - IMC Working Group on Transport and Integrated Maritime Policy

AquaSpace case study final reports

Elaboration of Detailed Study on the Establishment of a New Ship Routing System in Territorial Sea of the Republic of Bulgaria

WestMED Initiative: Towards an Initiative for the sustainable development of the blue economy in the western Mediterranean

Report on MSP data exchange and dissemination

Handbook for Visions in MSP

SNIMar Geoportal: A tool for integrated geographic information for marine and coastal water management

Belgian Vision for the North Sea 2050



PORTODIMARE - geoPortal of Tools & Data for sustainable Management of coAstal and maRine Environment

Wadden Sea Long-Term Ecosystem Research

DORY - Capitalization actions for aDriatic marine envirOnment pRotection and ecosYstem based management

SEAPLANSPACE - Marine spatial planning instruments for sustainable marine governance

SNIMar Project: Preparation of integrated geographic information for marine and coastal water management

PHAROS4MPAs - Blue Economy and Marine Conservation: Safeguarding Mediterranean MPAs in order to achieve Good Environmental Status

Marine Investment for the Blue Economy


News items

Sector Fiches on EU MSP Platform

Swedish MSP consultation meeting coming up

New MSP projects websites public!


EC Blue Economy study published

Swedish MSP consultation meeting outputs

Pan Baltic Scope Conference outputs

Polish public MSP consultation

Ireland votes to declare 50% of marine waters of MPAs

Jun 28

Pan Baltic Scope organised its opening conference on 20 June and nearly 100 participants attended the event.  Baltic Member States presented their progress regarding MSP implementation and 3 workshops were organised on I) Green Infrastructure, II) Land-sea interactions and III) Cumulative effect assessment and socioeconomic analyses. Sister project SEANSE also presented their planned activities for the North Sea. All presentations have been made available online, as well as the agenda and participants list.


Participants list

Master presentation

More about this event

Jun 28

The public consultation on the draft maritime spatial plan started on 4 June. All Polish citizens are asked to submit their comments until 1 August. The draft Strategic Environmental Assessment is also published for commentary.

More information (in Polish only)

Jun 28

BONUS BASMATI has published its

for June 2018, highlighting:

  • the progress made in the development of the Baltic Explorer spatial decision-support system
  • an interview with the project coordinator about his expectations regarding the project outcomes of BONUS BASMATI
  • a second video with Professor Juha Oksanen introduces Baltic Explorer


Jun 28

The EU's Blue Economy – all economic activities related to oceans, seas and coastal areas – is growing steadily, according to the EU’s first annual report on the blue economy. The report presents the current status and recent trends in the six established blue economy sectors in different EU Member States, to gain insight into where new opportunities and sustainable competitive advantage may be found. By tracking the development of the blue economy subsectors, and examining the drivers behind, the Annual Report on the EU Blue Economy can help identify investment opportunities and provide direction for future policies, including ocean governance. Read the report


More information

Jun 15

Three new MSP project websites have been launched!

Pan Baltic Scope



Jun 05

A new section has been added to the MSP Platform website to provide easy access to the Sector fiches developed as part of the MSP for Blue Growth study. The fiches deal mainly with the MSP dimension in the expected evolution of the analysed sectors, putting the focus not only on the present spatial needs, but also on the anticipated future developments of the industry. The fiches look at cross-sector interactions  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 sector webpages include a summary of the sector fiches as well as links to relevant practices and projects.

Go to the Sectors page


The kick-off event of the EC DG MARE and UNESCO IOC International Forum for MSP took place on 24 - 25 May in Brussels, Belgium. Over 160 participants discussed the opportunities and challenges of planning for the marine environment in a cross-border context. In addition to plenary sessions, participants engaged actively during two technical workshops on stakeholder involvement and cross-sector integration. Outputs of the event will include a report, graphic recording and photos.

More information about this event

May 30

BONUS BASMATI introduces itself in a video.

The BONUS BASMATI project focuses on Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) and marine and coastal ecosystem services. It analyses governance systems in the Baltic Sea region in order to develop a transnational model for MSP. A major outcome will be a MSP tool called Baltic Explorer. It is a spatial decision-support system designed to support the MSP process around the Baltic Sea.

The Baltic Explorer facilitates broad access to information. It helps planners and stakeholders to overcome the challenges of MSP, such as transboundary and cross-border planning and comprehensive mapping and management of ecosystem services. The tool will be developed with the help of its end-users and it will be tested in three BONUS BASMATI case studies. Cross-border collaboration and stakeholder involvement play a crucial role in the project.

Link to film: …

May 30

The NorthSEE project, working on fostering the coherence in MSP processes and plans in the North Sea Region, has published several new reports.

  • A status quo report on offshore energy planning provisions analyses the transnational energy cooperation in the region and the energy profiles of the countries. Current developments (e.g. increasing size of offshore wind farms) as well as future industry (e.g floating wind) and policy trends are explained and visualised. Most relevant for planners are the chapters on possible spatial implications of these trends. Besides the report itself, several annexes and infographics are included, which provide more detailed information on for example licencing procedures.
  • Transnational MSP in the North Sea: The Shipping context offers an overview of the current designated shipping routes by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and in national MSPs. Based on their findings, the report writers found several possible inconsistencies in the designation of transnational shipping routes in the region. Besides this, the report also looks at the future shipping industry trends and possible ways planners can deal with these trends.
  • Improving the Co-existence of Offshore Energy installations & Shipping explains the spatial conflict between these uses, and the method of applying safety distances to improve their co-existence. Currently, every country has their own way of doing this, using Navigational Risks Assessments (NRAs). While these methods and outcomes differ, the report recommends improving these NRA process and harmonization among North Sea countries.

All reports and annexes can be read on the NorthSEE website or downloaded from its library section.


May 30

The SIMNORAT project, bringing together AFB, Cerema, CEDEX, IEO, Shom, public bodies of France, Spain and Portugal, the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions and MSP competent authorities have met in Brussels on 22-23 of May at CPMR offices. The meeting was dedicated to establishing a work plan for the next activity period. This includes, in particular,  the publication of project deliverables and the holding of  a number of national and transboundary workshops. Such meetings will include stakeholder engagement exercises, in connection to the knowledge of marine areas developed so far and as a follow-up to the MSP challenge board game.


A summary report has been published as a follow-up to the workshop "Maritime Spatial Planning in Small Sea Spaces", held 14 - 15 March 2018 in Portoroz, Slovenia. The workshop was aimed at national MSP authorities, representatives of sub-national authorities, planners and other experts dealing with MSP in small sea spaces. Based on a wide exchange of practices and interactive discussions, workshop participants helped identify challenges and specific considerations for MSP in small sea spaces. The report summarises these discussions, which were organised around two themes: MSP for small sea space jurisdictions and MSP in small sea spaces under a multi-scalar approach.

More information about the event, including presentations, is available on the event page.


May 29

Bulgaria transposed the MSP Directive in the end of March, 2018 by amendment of the Maritime Spaces, Inland Waterways and Ports of the Republic of Bulgaria Act. The Minister of Regional Development and Public Works will head and coordinate all activities related to the Maritime Spatial Planning, including development of the Plan. The MSP process will be supported by and coordinated within a MSP Advisory Board which will be chaired by the Minister. The amended Act requires Bulgaria to cooperate with the Black sea countries, including through the Organisation of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea against Pollution. It is explicitly stated that the cooperation with Romania aims at achieving coherence and coordination of national maritime spatial plans on issues of a transnational nature.

More about MSP in Bulgaria

On 4 to 6 June, the Spanish Oceanographic Institute (IEO) will host the 3rd SIMWESTMED project meeting in Palma de Mallorca. This meeting is an opportunity for public authorities of Spain, France, Italy and Malta, CPMR and UNEP to develop their workplan to support the implementation of the MSP Directive in their respective countries and competence areas.

There will also be a joint final conference with the SUPREME project in December. More information is forthcoming.

How to develop a vision for maritime space that can be effectively used in MSP?

The purpose of the 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 handbook follows a possible decision-making framework, first providing ideas on how some initial decisions can be made including what format, temporal scope, skills and resources could be used for developing a vision. The handbook also suggests concrete steps and elements needed to build a vision process, such as a stakeholder engagement strategy, analysis of future trends through forecasts and scenarios, or visualization and presentation techniques.

The PDF version allows users to skip through the handbook and read only the chapters relevant for them. It provides links between different tools explained in the handbook, as well as further reading material including other handbooks and useful examples.

Go to Visions page


May 04

Recording of the webinar on cumulative impact tools for MSP now available here:

May 04

The latest newsletter features the upcoming kick-off event of the International Forum for MSP,  the Blue Invest 2018 Event, the newly published MSP for BlueGrowth, Euroean Maritime Day, updates on MSP processes in Belgium, Finland and Northern Ireland and much more! 

View all newsletters here


The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) for Northern Ireland has announced that consultation will be open on the first proposed marine plan until 15 June.
The marine plan for Northern Ireland is a single document made up of two plans, one inshore and one offshore as per the definitions of the Marine Act (Northern Ireland) 2013. The Marine Plan (when adopted) will be used by public authorities in taking decisions which affect or might affect the marine area, including authorisation or enforcement decisions, and decisions that relate to the exercise of any function capable of affecting the marine area. Together with the consultation process, the  'Northern Ireland Marine Mapviewer' has been launched.

More information

Register now for the Pan Baltic Scope Opening Conference - Introducing lasting macro-regional tools for Baltic maritime spatial plans, taking place on 20 June at the World Maritime University! Registration deadline is June 9th.

Pan Baltic Scope is the international collaboration of planning authorities and regional organizations created to strengthen the knowledge and enhance the cross-border dimensions in MSP cooperation establishing durable tools for such partnership. The partners representing the national planning authorities will highlight the status and progress of MSP processes in each country opening the panel for discussion. Ecosystem-based approach, green infrastructure, land-sea interaction, cumulative effect assessment and socioeconomic analyses in MSP will be in the centre of practical discussions in the parallel workshops. We invite practitioners and researchers interested in MSP, as well as policy makers and stakeholders involved in marine and coastal activities to get acquainted with Pan Baltic Scope and its plans, as well as dive together into the vastness of the maritime spatial planning.

Topics will include the progress of national MSP processes, socio-economics, cumulative impacts, the ecosystem-based approach, green infrastructure and land-sea interactions.

Target group: Planning Authorities, Sector Agencies and other MSP projects in Baltic Sea Region and elsewhere. Other MSP projects funded by the EMFF. DG Mare, DG Regio, EASME. The conference will take place back-to-back with the 19 June consultation on Swedish plan proposals.


Draft agenda

More information about this event

On the 20th of April  2018, the Council of Ministers has adopted the Belgian draft MSP for the period 2020-2026. The advice of the consultative commission, composed of all the competent Belgian federal and Flemish government services, has been carefully scrutinized and many valuable suggestions have been incorporated in the draft MSP. A large-scale and formal consultation process will be initiated in July 2018 and citizens will be invited to send in their comments to the draft plan and to the strategic environmental assessment (SEA). A public hearing will also be organized. As part of the consultation process, the neighboring and interested countries will also be contacted. Hereby, the Belgian Minister for the North Sea, Philippe De Backer, commits to continue the Belgian leading role in MSP. More information will follow in due course.

More about MSP in Belgium


Apr 20

New Agenda published 'International Forum for MSP' kick-off


Thon Hotel EU, Brussels, Belgium

The Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, jointly with IOC-UNESCO, are organising the kick-off event of the International Forum for MSP in Brussels, Belgium on 24 and 25 May, 2018. The event aims to start working on international guidelines on cross-border MSP. This is a direct follow up of the "Joint Roadmap to accelerate Maritime/Marine Spatial Planning processes worldwide" adopted during the 2nd International Conference on Maritime Spatial Planning, in March 2017 in Paris. The event will two interactive technical workshops, on cross-sector transboundary integration, and on stakeholder involvement. Plenary discussions are foreseen on the subject of EU as well as international cross-border perspectives. During the 1.5 days, a wide exchange of practices is envisaged, focussing on cross-border MSP, Ocean Governance, the international MSP guidelines, as well as EC objectives in funding projects, feedback from MSP projects, and MSP in the transboundary context of Large Marine Ecosystems.

Maritime Spatial planners from all across the world and experts directly involved in planning are welcome to participate and give their input.  The agenda includes a welcome speech by Mr. Joāo Aguiar Machado, the Director General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission as well as a closing speech by Mr. Vladimyr Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO.

Registration has closed. For enquiries about the event, please contact DG MARE through:

***New version of agenda published***

Apr 19

The Belgian government has published a Vision for the North Sea 2050. A Think Thank has also been established. The Vision is available for download below.

More about the Vision and Think Thank (website in Dutch and French only)

Apr 19

The first phase of the French public consultation on its National Strategy for the Sea and the Coast is now closed. Between 26 January and 25 March 2018, France held a public consultation which was structured around two methods: an online participatory platform and the organisation of citizen workshops. Within one month after the closing of the consultation, the National Commission for Public Debate will analyse the feedback results and integrate these in a report, which will be published on both the online platform ‘merlittoral2030’ as well as on the National Commission’s website.

All contributions and the summary of local workshops are available on

Apr 19

EASME has published the study 'MSP for Blue Growth' providing guidelines for successful MSP. The study is divided into three parts, presenting a methdodology for creating an MSP vision process, 9 maritime sector analysis fiches with a specific focus on MSP, and an MSP Indicator Handbook. Download the full study below.

A PDF version of the 'Handbook for Visions in MSP' published and a dedicated Visions page has been installed on the EU MSP Platform website.

The EU MSP Platform now also features a dedicated 'Sectors page' with integrated information about the maritime sectors.

Apr 19

Finland has launched to keep all interested parties informed of their MSP processes.:

The website is available in Finnish, Swedish and English. In addition, a Twitter account has been launched: