The Ecosystem Approach in Maritime Spatial Planning - A checklist toolbox

Baltic Scope

Abstract: 

This toolbox has a checklist approach. There are several aims with developing a number of checklists to support the implementation of the Ecosystem Approach in MSP:

  • To show that applying the Ecosystem Approach in MSP is possible.
  • To show that there are a number of dimensions in the Ecosystem Approach and you should consider them all.
  • To simplify the method for MSP responsible authorities and consultant

  • To contribute to the harmonization of the application of the Ecosystem Approach in MSP. 

The checklist approach also shows that there is no single right way to implement the Ecosystem Approach. The different dimensions of the general checklist can be considered and applied in different ways in different countries. But the checklists still indicate a minimum level for the implementation, as all dimensions/key elements have to be considered. 

 

Sea Basin(s): 
Year: 
2017
Application in MSP: 
Taken into account in an MSP process
Sectors: 
Not sector specific
Type of Issue: 
Data
Economic aspects
Ecosystem-based approach
Environment aspects
Type of practice: 
Tools
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Vision and aims
Stocktake
Analyse spatial aspects
Coherence with other processes: 
Common Fisheries Policy
Habitats and Birds Directive
Marine Strategy Framework Directive
Strategic Environmental Assessment
Water Framework Directive

Questions this practice may help answer

The practice provides support when integrating the Ecosystem Approach in maritime planning. As a holistic approach with a focus on preserving/restoring marine ecosystems and maintaining ecosystem services to support human needs it should provide spatial solutions for the management of human activities in a way that is compatible with the achievement of good environmental status (GES) and the capacity of marine ecosystems to respond to human-induced changes. The checklist offers herefore solutions and practical approaches, for example by describing key elements of the Ecosystem Approach during the implementation phase in MSP processes as well as of integrated impact assessments. 
 

Implementation context

The checklist approach clarifies that there is no single right way to implement the Ecosystem Approach. The different dimensions of the general checklist can be considered and applied in different ways in different countries. But the checklists still indicate a minimum level for the implementation, as all dimensions/key elements have to be considered. This “checklist” is actually a table to be used in the planning process to identify potential conflicts and synergies and their possible solutions. It is hence more of a guideline for planning. It was developed with the idea that decisions on plan alternatives are made in the actual planning process. The checklist includes the three sectors: shipping, energy and fishery, in relation to the environment. 

Objective

The Ecosystem Approach in MSP is a holistic approach with a focus on preserving/restoring marine ecosystems and maintaining ecosystem services to support human needs. It should provide spatial solutions for the management of human activities in a way that is compatible with the achievement of good environmental status (GES) and the capacity of marine ecosystems to respond to human-induced changes.

The aim of the checklist is to proactively contribute to the implementation of solution building in the actual planning activities. It should be used during the whole MSP process by responsible planners. 

The SEA checklist aims to proactively contribute to the implementation of solution building in the actual planning activities in the MSP process.

Method

The checklist is actually a table to be used in the planning process to identify potential conflicts and synergies and their possible solutions. It is hence more of a guideline for planning. It was developed with the idea that decisions on plan alternatives are made in the actual planning process. The checklist includes the three sectors: shipping, energy and fishery, in relation to the environment. Each question is framed by an explanation.

The HELCOM/VASAB guidelines on the Ecosystem-based Approach in MSP provide a table (Table 1 “Implementation of the ecosystem-based approach in the Maritime Spatial Planning process” pages 12-18 in the guidelines), which gives a detailed description of how SEA can be integrated in MSP. The SEA-checklist provided in this toolbox can be seen as a “Quick-Start instruction” or an “SEA-Essentials” checklist tool. For further details the planner should refer to the table in the guidelines. 

Main Outputs / Results

The main outputs are three checklists: The General Ecosystem Approach Checklist with an analysis of the application of the general Ecosystem Approach checklist for the Baltic Scope partner countries. The second list is the Planning Support Checklist, the third the Strategic Environmental Assessment Checklist.

Transferability

The approach is transferable to all other European sea basins and can be easily adapted to individual needs of planners. The checklist can also be devleoped further to meet expectations in the special marine area.

Responsible entity

Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM) together with

Baltic Environmental Forum (BEF), Latvia
University of Tartu, Estonian Marine Institute
Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency of Germany

The Danish Maritime Authority
Maritime Office in Szczecin 

 

Contact Persons

Jan Schmidtbauer Crona

Anda Ruskule
Madli Kopti
Bettina Käppeler

Suzanne Dael

Magdalena Wesołowska

 

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