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Marine Spatial Planning is calling: Europe will be ready for 2021

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Just imagine yourself gazing out at the sea. You may enjoy the view of the landscape, picture a sustainable fishing industry, dream with the potential of marine biotechnology or foresee a prosperous seabed mining industry. The uses of the marine space seem as endless as the ocean view, and have been boosted by technological developments. Therefore, we need to ask ourselves how to satisfy needs and interests and how to achieve a balance between the use and protection of the oceans and where, when and how to better organize the activities that we develop now or in the future.

The use of marine environment has resulted in conflicts related with alignment between different uses and other related with the cumulative impact of all these activities on the marine environment. The application of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is an exercise that generates many questions: how different activities can be developed at the same time and in the same place? Which activities can be combined? And which are incompatible from the analysis of the current situation and thinking about the future? It is a dynamic and participatory process. Although participation implies identification of conflicts, it also allows to find synergies and finally guarantees more options. MSP is finally a way to shape the future of what the oceans look like.

The European Union has established through the DIRECTIVE 2014/89/EU of 23 July 2014 a framework for maritime spatial planning to support the sustainable development of seas and oceans and to develop coordinated, coherent and transparent decision-making in relation to the Union’s sectoral policies affecting the oceans, seas, islands, coastal and outermost regions and maritime sectors, including sea-basin and macro-regional strategies.

Marine spatial planning puts in practice a rational organisation of the marine space and the interactions between its uses, in order to promote the sustainable development and growth of the maritime and coastal economies; by balancing demands for development with the need to protect marine ecosystems it aims to achieve social and economic objectives in an open and planned way.

The Member States are working hard to accommodate their planning to the European framework.  The EMODnet team is currently collecting and harmonizing the data from the different countries. So please stay tuned and shortly you will have the most updated and detailed view of the MSP in the European Union.


The information and views set out in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Commission. Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on the European Commission's behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information therein.

June 7th, 2018 | Written by

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