WWF France, on behalf of the PHAROS4MPAs project, co-signed a charter of ecoresponsibility for maritime transport activity along with la Méridionale (French shipping company), French MPAs (Calanques National Park, Port-Cros National Park and the Natural Marine Park of Cap Corse and Agriate) and the French Agency for Biodiversity (AFB). This charter aims at mitigating the ferrys' impact on the marine wildlife when commuting between Marseille and Corsica - e.g. discards reduction, waste recovery, fuel consumption decrease, staff and passengers training on environmental issues. The PHAROS4MPAs project will use this this initial step towards more sustainable maritime transport activity as a positive case study for the global recommendations (to be issued in Spring 2019) on the necessary practical collaboration between Mediterranean MPAs and 8 maritime sectors, including maritime traffic.  

Read the charter here
More about the PHAROS4MPAs project

Copyright: La Méridionale

The Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission organised a workshop on 11 September 2018 at the premises of the University of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria (Spain). Around 40 participants representing islands from across Europe and Outermost Regions jointly discussed on the basis of expert presentations, panel discussions and two interactive sessions on the topic of ‘Specific challenges for implementing MSP for islands’ and ‘Blue Growth opportunities for islands’. A full workshop report will be published in the coming weeks, based on the workshop briefing paper.

More about the Workshop MSP for Islands (including speaker presentations and photos)

Preliminary workshop conclusions

A wide variety of speakers presented their perspectives on MSP from islands of different situations in Europe, including Shetland (Scotland), Malta, Iceland, Åland (Finland) and Greece. Panel and group sessions facilitated interaction between participants and gathered views on the challenges and opportunities in islands, and the role of MSP. Preliminary workshop conclusions include an acknowledgement that islands are highly diverse but united in their remoteness, which influences their economic, social, environmental and governance characteristics, in different ways. Ecologically, island ecosystems can be rich in biodiversity, but they are fragile, and ecosystem-based MSP is critical for balancing ecological integrity, economic development and social interests. It can focus data gathering activities and understanding of local ecological conditions, which is costly, particularly for islands with near shore deep-water areas, such as the Canary Islands and the Azores. Socially, island communities may engage well with MSP given their strong connection with the sea built up over long maritime histories, however, a mental shift is required, from one of ‘exploitation’ to one of ‘stewardship’. There can be limited human capital for MSP delivery locally, along with problems of partisanship, and any development must consider broader social challenges faced related to poverty, health, etc.

MSP for islands governance arrangements

Governance arrangements across islands vary widely, with implications of different levels of autonomy from distant national governments. Delivery of MSP by an island-based authority has many benefits, including better understanding of local issues and established trust with local stakeholders. Island-scale MSP can also be more adaptive, presenting an opportunity to learn from the testing of approaches, such as the alternative to zoning being implemented in Shetland, Scotland. However, an overarching government can develop primary legislation, provide enforcement capacity, finance economic development, etc., noted as critical for the French Overseas Territories. Integrated MSP that is clearly nested in broader governance structures can provide coherence, including opportunity to address differences between island priorities and those of associated national governments.

Islands often host small and specialised domestic economies, which are vulnerable to external market fluctuations and often reliant on external financing. However, attracting private investment is difficult since the scale of development is constrained by local demand, available space for development (offshore and onshore), human capacity for sector development and costs associated with transportation. By providing greater certainty regarding potential development, such as allocating areas for aquaculture, supportive policies and mitigating risk of conflict, MSP can encourage and direct public and private financing e.g. for financing of emergent Blue Growth sectors such as renewable energy and biotechnology.

Importance of MSP for islands

Overall, MSP is essential in implementing Blue Growth through managing conflict, promoting multi-use and balancing the context-specific socio-ecological needs of islands with economic opportunities. Locally developed MSP is particularly relevant in reflecting the ambitions, priorities and challenges of islands, and guiding investment into Blue Economy sector development. The ‘softer’ aspects of MSP were repeatedly highlighted as a valuable contribution, in providing an opportunity for dialogue among stakeholders, developing trust, collaboration and collective understanding of complex challenges. However, MSP is not ‘the solution’ since many challenges are non-spatial, beyond the remit of MSP and therefore integration with other decision-making processes needs to be clear.

While remoteness and insularity are defining features of islands which underpin their vulnerabilities and challenges, their role in ‘connectivity’ underlines their role in transboundary processes, including as ‘stop-overs’ for shipping and migratory species, as well as connecting societies through exchange of goods and people. This emphasises the need for MSP to take a broad and integrated view, and to maintain focus on the importance of islands in the ‘global’ blue economy.

More about the Workshop MSP for Islands (including speaker presentations and photos)

Sep 20

The MSP Platform is organising 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 will introduce participants to one of the three study components:

Further information and details on each webinar is available below.

Participants may choose to join all three or individual webinars. Following registration, a link will be sent for webinar access via Go to Meeting. Please note that participation is limited to 150 participants per webinar.

Registration is available here

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 will cover 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 will also answer 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?

There will be an opportunity for questions at the end of the webinar. 

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

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 will cover 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?

There will be an opportunity for questions at the end of the webinar. 

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

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 will cover 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

There will be an opportunity for questions at the end of the webinar. 

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


The VKC is planning to change its name to better reflect its objective to promote networking and information sharing on blue economy issues around the Mediterranean Sea Basin. Four new names have been proposed:

  • Mediterranean Blue Economy Stakeholder Platform; MedBESC
  • Mediterranean Blue Economy Community; MedBEC
  • Mediterranean Blue Economy Network; MedBEN
  • Mediterranean Blue Economy Hub; MedBEH

You can indicate your favourite until 21 September 2018 using the following link:

The report is a key part of the process of developing Ireland’s first marine spatial plan, which will be the equivalent of the National Planning Framework for the marine area. The report presents a brief introduction to MSP and its benefits, the purpose of the report as well as a list of public events and a chapter on public particiaption, communication and engagement. The new report also makes reference to Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, Ireland's first integrated national marine plan.

In addition, the report also sets MSP in a broader context, relating it to other EU and national policy and legal frameworks, links to terrestrial planning, licensing, climate change as well as BREXIT. The maritime activities that the report addresses include (but are not limited to) aquaculture, cultural heritage, defence, energy (renewable and traditional), fisheries, marine aggregates and one of the chapters is also dedicated to MSP and the marine environment. The report is 'the first formal dialogue and a major step towards the preparation of a marine spatial plan for Ireland. It will inform the next steps in the process, including the development of objectives and policies in the draft plan.'

There are 12 consultation questions in the report intended to spark engagement from a wide range of stakeholders. Written responses and comments can be sent in until 14 December 2018. In parallel, a series of regional public and stakeholder events will be organised in the month of October 2018. More information one these events can be found here.



Sep 11

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 took place on the 11th of September 2018 at the University of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, ES. The workshop provided participants with the opportunity to explore the development of MSP in the context of islands as well the challenges and opportunities that exist for sustainable blue growth. Participants learned 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 included:

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

The workshop targets MSP Authorities, Local Municipalities and Community Groups, Blue Growth Sector representatives and other interested parties. The workshop consisted of presentations from relevant experts, panel discussions and two ineractive workshop sessions.



Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Sep 04

VASAB is an intergovernmental multilateral co-operation of 11 countries of the Baltic Sea Region in spatial planning and development, guided by the Conference of Ministers responsible for spatial planning and development, steered by the Committee on Spatial Planning and Development of the Baltic Sea Region (CSPD/BSR) composed of representatives of respective ministries and regional authorities (Germany, Russia). They have now launched a new website, which is very easy to use and features a dedicated MSP section.

Visit the new website

The purpose of the interim evaluation is to assess performance of and fine-tune the implementation of the direct management component of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) for the current programming period 2014-2020. The online questionnaire takes about 10 minutes to complete and answers can be provided in all EU languages.

Go to survey


Aug 29

The workshop Briefing Paper is now available for the MSP for Islands Workshop, to be held on 11 September 2018 at the University of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, ES. The briefing paper describes background information relevant to MSP experiences and considerations specific to islands, which will be the focus of the workshop.

Download the Briefing Paper here

More information on the workshop is available on the event page. Registration is open until 31 August 2018.

VASAB has initiated “Baltic Sea Region Young Planners Contest” to collect fresh ideas and enhance perspective of young planning professionals about the Baltic Sea Region`s future. During the competition the best planners from all VASAB countries will come together and via intense summer camp will bring their ideas and spatial solutions to the rising challenges of Baltic Sea Region in 2050. Best idea(s) will be presented in the VASAB Ministerial Conference. Cross-sectoral and multi-national teams will be formed of planners representing VASAB countries– spatial, environmental, landscape, maritime, transport or urban – and complemented by the expertise of anthropologists, political scientists, sociologists, economists and experts from other fields. For the young professionals of the Baltic Sea Region this is a great opportunity to represent the perspective of youth in setting the future agenda for BSR. Besides that it gives a chance to build the network of next planning professionals setting prerequisites for stronger collaboration in the BSR in upcoming years. Application for the contest is planned during autumn 2018. Students and young professionals interested in strategic and spatial planning will be invited to apply for the summer school. Candidates will be asked to explain their motivation to participate in the contest as well as description of a problem or challenge of BSR in 2050 that should/might be addressed with spatial planning tools.

More information

Aug 16

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has announced that the UK Government has adopted England’s South Marine Plans. The Marine Plans were produced by the MMO the behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) following 5 years of engagement with a diverse group of stakeholders. The South Marine Plan areas stretch from Folkestone in Kent to the River Dart in Devon and comprise some 21,000 square kilometres and 1,700 kilometres of one of the busiest shipping channels in the world, with freight, passenger transport and military activity all prevalent in the area. In addition the area is also home to 60 MPA’s including 9 MCZ’s and the UNESCO World Heritage Site (Dorset and East Devon Jurassic Coast).

The South Marine Plan will help ensure that the right activities happen in the right place and in the right way within the marine environment. It provides a framework that will shape and inform decisions over how the areas’ waters are developed, protected and improved over the next 20 years. The South Marine Plan will help to protect the marine environment and achieve sustainable economic growth, whilst respecting local communities. Policies are presented within an economic, social and environmental framework, helping to support the high level marine objectives set out in the UK Marine Policy Statement. The MMO will be running a series of implementation workshops with decision makers within the south marine plan area over the next few months. If you would like any further information please contact them

More information

Aug 16

A North Sea Energy Atlas has been developed to create an overview of the data on current and future offshore energy in the North Sea Area. This includes creating an inventory of current energy flows from hydrocarbon production and wind energy, and how these are transported to the onshore energy system. Also potential future grids for hydrogen and CO2 are explored. The result is an interactive online North Sea Energy Atlas that brings you new perspectives regarding our current and future offshore energy system.

The intended use of this North Sea Energy Atlas is to provide users with quick insights regarding the offshore energy system. The Atlas and data it contains on future developments (e.g. offshore wind deployment) are not intended to be used as basis for detailed spatial planning and investment decisions. The scope and focus of this version of the Atlas is the Dutch Continental Shelf (DCS). Note that this is a BETA version of the North Sea Energy Atlas. The detailed descriptions of items shown on the maps are not all verified and updated.

More information

The EU MSP Platform is assisting with the organisation of the European Commission's Member State Expert Group (MSEG) for MSP. The next meeting will take place in October and one of the sessions will be dedicated to the links between MSP and the research community. For the purpose of this session, a survey has been launched which takes 10 minutes to complete. Based on the survey results, 5 researchers from a variety of stages in their career will be asked to present to the MSEG as part of a 'science slam' session and also be given the chance to take part in a networking lunch. The survey can be accessed here:

More about the MSEG on MSP

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.



Download the conference report:

Link to conference photos

Dowload the conference presentations below.


Plenary I

Plenary II

Aug 06

The European Atlas of the Seas hosts a wealth of information about Europe's marine environment, covering topics such as nature, tourism, security, energy, passenger transport, sea bottom, sea level rise, fish consumption, and much more. With the new release, users can benefit from an enriched catalogue with more than 120 additional layers to explore, collate and use in their own maps.  Print, share or embed the maps in your articles and presentations! The Atlas is the ideal tool for schools, researchers and professionals, or anyone wishing to enhance their knowledge or improve their products and services. Currently available in four languages (EN, FR, DE & ES), the Atlas will soon be available in all official languages of the European Union. The Atlas aims to raise awareness of Europe's seas and coasts in the context of the EU's integrated maritime policy. Data providers are primarily the European Commission and its agencies (i.e. EEA, Eurostat, …), as well as the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet), which provided about 80 new maps.

More information


Jul 30

Even though it is high summer, many things are happening in the world of MSP. The EU MSP Platform website has added a new page where European Commission MSP Studies are presented; view it here. A new FAQ has also been developed, the 'multi-scalar approach to MSP'. It features four interesting questions relating to the topic and links to relevant practices and projects. View it here. Missed the news in June? Catch up here.


Understanding specific cross border issues in MSP (Offshore Renewable Energy and Shipping & Navigation)

SIMCelt Data Portal

Communication tool on MSP integration challenges

Story map: Recreation in the Baltic Sea under Climate Change

Story map: Ecosystem Services and Climate Change in the Baltic Sea

Eforie Case Study

Strategic Environmental Assessment Better Practice Guide

Marine spatial planning in Romania: State of the art and evidence from stakeholders

Understanding and Applying Ecosystem Services in Transboundary Maritime Spatial Planning

Transnational Maritime Spatial Planning in the North Sea: The Shipping Context

Status quo report on offshore energy planning provisions in the North Sea Region

Evaluating the sustainability of governance, a proposal for evaluating marine spatial planning in the Baltic Sea

Three Year Report on the implementation of Scotland's National Marine Plan

The shipping industry and MSP: an operational guide to risks and rewards

Sketch Match from Sfântu Gheorghe Case Study

Capacity Densities of European Offshore Wind Farms



BalticAPP - Wellbeing from the Baltic Sea - applications combining natural sciences and economics

TEAM4SEAS - Bridging the gaps: An innovative and operational participatory platform to connect science, stakeholders and policy for successful maritime spatial planning in Romania



Kick-off Belgian Public Consultation draft MSP

European Commission (EASME) call for proposals on MSP

Interreg North Sea Region Call 8 - Expressions of Interest

Interreg North Sea Region Call 7

Jul 30

UNESCO-IOC has launched a new tool to share existing global ocean knowledge. IOC is currently looking for input and inviting everyone to add resources to the platform (videos, teaching materials, upcoming events, projects, reports…).The Portal is available in English and French. There is currently also a survey out on the topic of ocean literacy in the context of the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).

More information

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! Missed the news in May? Not to worry - an overview can be found here.


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.

Practice description of Vision Handbook 


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.


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, and read more about MSP for Blue Growth in our FAQs.

In addition to the full study, the outputs can be found in the MSP Platform website resources: