Update of the integrated management plan for the Barents Sea – Lofoten area

Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment


In 2015 an update has been made of the integrated management plan for the Barents Sea – Lofoten area. The plan in place, developed in 2006, already had some updates during the years, integrating new research findings and stakeholder input. This version is the new official update of the Management Plan.

Application in MSP: 
Applied in an MSP process
Nature protection
Oil and gas exploitation
Type of Issue: 
Ecosystem-based approach
Environment aspects
Land-sea interactions
Social aspects
Type of practice: 
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Develop and implement plan
Coherence with other processes: 
Marine Strategy Framework Directive

Questions this practice may help answer

  • How is the area of Barents Sea – Lofoten spatially managed by the Norwegian government?
  • What elemetns are included in the Barents Sea – Lofoten management plan?
  • How can the delimitation of the marginal ice zone be included in a Maritime Spatial Plan or Spatial Management Plan?

Implementation Context

The 2006 integrated management plan for the Bar­ents Sea – Lofoten area and the management plans for the Norwegian Sea and for the North Sea and Skagerrak all included a broad-based, overall description of the relevant sea areas, including ecosystem status and trends, as a basis for deter­mining the measures to be introduced.

An update of a management plan has a more limited scope, dealing with a restricted number of issues, knowl­edge updates or part of the geographical area of the management plan. In the 2011 update of the Barents Sea – Lofoten management plan, there was a special emphasis on descriptions and assessments for the waters off the Lofoten and Vesterålen Islands and Senja. The updates also ensure that the general framework for manage­ment of the area continues to be appropriate dur­ing the period before an overall revision of the management plan.

In the present update of the management plan, the Government will focus on the northern/Arctic part of the Barents Sea – Lofoten management plan area.

Aspects / Objectives

Pro­vide a framework for value creation through the sustainable use of natural resources and ecosys­tem services in the sea areas and at the same time maintain the structure, functioning, productivity and diversity of the ecosystems.

The management plans are thus a tool both for facilitating value cre­ation and food security within sustainable limits, and for maintaining good environmental status. The management plans clarify the overall framework and encourage closer coordination and clear priorities for management of Norway’s sea areas.


  • Updated knowledge about the state of the envi­ronment and new measurements of sea ice extent have improved our understanding of the geo­graphical location of the particularly valuable and vulnerable areas in the management plan area. The Norwegian Government is not proposing to alter the definition of the marginal ice zone as a particularly valuable and vulnerable area used in the earlier versions of the management plan, but will update its delimitation for the purposes of the management plan on the basis of new measurements of sea ice extend.
  • No changes to the framework for commercial activities in the Barents Sea – Lofoten manage­ment plan area are being proposed at present.
  • In 2020, the Government will publish a white paper presenting an overall revision of the man­agement plan for the entire Barents Sea – Lofoten area. As part of the scientific basis for the revision, the definition used as a basis for determining the delimitation of the marginal ice zone will be reviewed.

Main Outputs / Results

The output is the updated Management plan of the Barents Sea – Lofoten area. It includes:

  • Changes in the marine environment as a result of climate change. They also describe the influence of human activities in the management plan area on marine ecosystems, including activities that result in greenhouse gas emissions and may contribute to climate change.
  • The fisheries protection zone around Svalbard and the territorial waters of Svalbard. Activities within the territorial waters of Svalbard are regulated by the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act.
  • Close links between terrestrial and coastal species and ecosystems in Svalbard and those in surrounding sea and drift ice areas, as they are interdependent. The integrated management helps to achieve the goals set for areas both within and outside the territorial waters around Svalbard.


The management plan is created for the Barents Sea – Lofoten area including specifically, so the findings are not easily transferable. However, the inclusing of the the delimitation of the marginal ice zone, and how to deal with climate change in a MSP or management plan can be of inspiration for other MSP Authorties in countries with similar problems or issues.

Funding Source

Work on the management plans will be carried out within the existing budget framework for the Norwegian ministries involved.

Responsible Entity

Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment, Department for Marine Management and Pollution Control,  Section for Marine Environment

E-mail per.schive@kld.dep.no

Phone +47 22 24 58 14