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Socio-economic aspects

Main issues

The relation between MSP and socio-economic aspects is multi-faceted and not yet fully explored. MSP aims to reduce or avoid conflicts between a variety of economic and non-economic functions and pressures. At the same time, it is also a tool to allocate space for new and emerging uses while respecting marine nature protection targets. MSP can potentially open new economic potentials by fostering synergies between different uses. It can be seen as a way to organise the spatial distribution of economic sea uses for sustainable economic growth and to support the EU Blue Growth Strategy (2012).

Socioeconomic aspects are therefore important to be considered in MSP. The terrestrial economic development and land-sea interaction are also highly related to the economic benefits of maritime spatial plans and the importance of given maritime uses covered by these plans for the economic development of the region / country. Decisions in MSP change the opportunities of marine sectors as much as structural changes in economic sectors change the context and needs for MSP decisions, as discussed in the Maritime Sector Fiches. One could consider, if MSP could be used as a strategic tool for regional economic development.

Currently, the number of tools developed to analyse socioeconomic aspects and to integrate those more strongly into the MSP process is limited. However, the need for these tools is recognized and the interest to work on new tools has increased. Until now socio-economic data used in MSP is mainly related to the value of sectors, employment figures and numbers of companies. To a certain extent, it also considers dynamics and drivers of economic development. What is missing so far is a better understanding as well as methods on how to valorise the maritime space for each sector, the land-sea interactions and the effects of planning decisions.

This topic was the subject of an expert roundtable organised by the EU MSP Platform in July 2017. Practical examples and work in progress presented at the roundtable are among others described under each of the questions below. More information on the roundtable, including a report and presentations, is available here.

Please note that this section of the EU MSP Platform website is not currently being updated with new information. However, the resources throughout our website remain relevant to our mission of sharing knowledge and experiences on MSP in the EU.

Frequently Asked Questions

Socio-economic work of HELCOM

HELCOM HOLAS II & social and economic analyses 

The study focuses on the general development of economic and social analyses and is based on HELCOM's expert network. Main aspects covered by the analysis are the contribution of human activities to national and regional economies and the contribution of the marine environment to the wellbeing of current and future generations. The work is aiming to gain coherent and comparable information across the Baltic Sea countries.
  • Jan 2017

Economic potential of maritime regions


The aim of the study was to find out whether the maritime sectors in Estonia and Finland are rather independent in their development within national economies or whether maritime sectors are linked stronger with national economics.
  • Mar 2018

Marine planning: socio-economic study

UK - England – MSP

Independent study to help marine planners, developers, local authorities and others to understand issues affecting coastal communities. Includes national level information and more detailed information for the East of England.

  • Jan 2011