North Atlantic Sea Basin Strategy Document


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In the framework of the MSP Directive, France has divided its metropolitan maritime space into four sea basins ("façades"), each subject to a specific planning process. Between 2018 and 2019, Sea Basin Strategy Documents were published for each of the sea basins. This practice refers to the Sea Basin Strategy Document for the North Atlantic. It provides a detailed description of the current situation (physical and biological aspects, human activities etc.), as well as strategic objectives in line with the National Strategy for the Sea and Coast (2017). 

Sea Basin(s): 
Septembre 2019
Application in MSP: 
Applied in an MSP process
Nature protection
Offshore renewable energy production
Scientific Research
Submarine cables and pipelines
Under water cultural heritage
Type of Issue: 
Coexistence of uses
Economic aspects
Environment aspects
Land-sea interactions
Safety aspects
Social aspects
Type of practice: 
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Analyse spatial aspects
Develop and implement plan
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 
Coherence with other processes: 
Habitats and Birds Directive
Integrated Coastal Zone Management
Marine Strategy Framework Directive
Renewable Energy Directive
Strategic Environmental Assessment
Water Framework Directive

Questions this practice may help answer: 


  • What are the main issues concerning the French North Atlantic sea basin? 
  • What are the strategical objectives defined for the French North Atlantic sea basin?  
  • How is marine spatial planning applied in France?  

Implementation Context: 

As part of the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008) and the Maritime Spatial Planning Framework Directive (2014), France has adopted a National Strategy for the Sea and Coast (2017). This national strategy is adapted for each sea basin via the elaboration of a planning document.  

Aspects / Objectives: 

The document provides a summary of the current situation in the North Atlantic Sea Basin, in regard to the main activities and related socio-economic issues, research initiatives, as well as the state of marine and coastal ecosystems and associated issues. It highlights the major challenges and draws a vision for 2030 with associated strategic objectives. This Sea Basin Strategy will serve as a basis for developing an action plan for the Sea Basin, to be provided by 2021.  


The Sea Basin Strategy Document has been drafted by the Sea Basin Council for the North Atlantic Coast, which includes representatives of the local maritime prefectures (préfécture maritime de l'Atlantique and préfécture de Pays de Loire), local authorities, coastal and maritime activities, and associations on protection of the marine environment. A public consultation has been organized to seek the public inputs. Public opinion has also been consulted through the platform.  

Main Outputs / Results: 

The document draws a maritime spatial planning strategy at a sub-national scale. This is the first time that the strategy concerning the maritime space in France is developed at this scale. Along with the vision for 2030 and associated strategic objectives, the document provides a "designated-use map", which demonstrates a devision of French North Atlantic Sea Basin into 15 zones, corresponding to areas with similar issues and potentials as a basis for spatial implementation of strategic objectives. 


The document has been drafted for the North Atlantic basin in the framework of the French maritime policy, the practice is thus not transferable to another country.  

Responsible Entity: 

Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition    

Interregional Direction of Sea of North Atlantic  

Contact person: