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Marine Science



Maritime Spatial Planning in the North and Baltic Seas. Planning the use of maritime space is very complex, involving a high number of interrelated interests, also among different sectors. The eMSP NBSR (Emerging ecosystem-based Maritime Spatial Planning topics in North and Baltic Seas Region) project brings together 15 neighbouring countries from the Baltic and North Sea Regions and fosters cooperation across the two sea basins for the efficient development of Maritime Spatial Plans. The project aims to avoid potential conflicts and to create a stable and secure environment for the development of a sustainable blue economy and the benefit of coastal communities.

Dr Kira Gee from the German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency stated:

“Visualise the invisible, that’s a great challenge since the complexity of MSP and related issues make it really hard to get a clear picture of the overarching problems, the impact and solutions.”

Started in September 2021, and co-funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, eMSP NBSR stimulates exchanges beyond national borders through a community of practice where project partners and MSP experts share experiences, challenges, knowledge and elaborate best practices and recommendations on 7 specific topics:

  • Ocean Governance
  • Ecosystem-based approach
  • Sustainable Blue Economy
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Data sharing
  • Climate Change
  • Communities of practice

For each of the topics a policy brief was produced to gather inputs from different stakeholders and providing recommendations for future development of Maritime Spatial Plans. Some key recommendations highlight the importance of enhancing cooperation on a sea basin scale and integrating ecosystem-based approaches in decision making.

The results page of the project website lists the materials developed by the five different learning strands and including links to the policy briefs and a video on the project results.

eMSP NBSR works closely with other MSP-related EU projects like MSP-ORMSP GreenRegina MSP and ReMAP to share information and increase its overall impact. The project’s recommendations constitute an important basis for future policy and decision making both at national and EU level.

The project also produced 2 case studies: one on blue corridors or connections between natural areas at sea, and one on multi-use, exploring the Maripark concept developed in the eMSP NBSR Project Learning Strand dedicated to Sustainable Blue Economy.

Check-out the project website to know more about eMSP NBSR project and to stay updated with their news and events; follow them on X and LinkedIn.

Maritime spatial planning (MSP) is the tool to manage the use of our seas and oceans coherently and to ensure that human activities take place in an efficient, safe and sustainable way.

In 2014, the EU adopted the maritime spatial planning directive which sets down a common approach to the planning of maritime areas. This allows each EU country to plan its own maritime activities but this planning process – whether at national, regional or local level – is now more compatible EU-wide thanks to the introduction of a common timeframe and minimum common requirements.

The directive requires EU countries to draw up maritime spatial plans. EU countries bordering the same marine waters must also cooperate so as to ensure that maritime spatial plans are coherent and coordinated across the marine region concerned.