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BEST PRACTICE IN MARITIME SPATIAL PLANNING - Towards Mutually Beneficial Outcomes for Fishers, Renewable Energy Production and Marine Conservation

Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament


In the coming years, we will be increasingly familiar with the process of Maritime Spatial Planning as we look to simultaneously harness the energy of the winds and the seas and protect our marine environment from overexploitation, whilst continuing to provide healthy food and sustainable livelihoods to coastal communities and beyond. Some countries are already miles ahead in this process, with well-established Spatial Plans for their waters. Others have yet to publish their own. As a bloc, the European Union will lead the charge, with 21 Member States required to produce National Maritime Spatial Plans by March 2021. Established good practice in Maritime Spatial Planning around the world can provide these Member States with models to learn from and adapt, in order to better plan the management of our marine, foster community involvement in the process, and facilitate constructive dialogue between stakeholders. In Europe, this process will ultimately help us to achieve the ambitious aims of the European Green Deal to live sustainably within the planetary boundaries, for example by protecting 30% of our land and seas over the next ten year as outlined in the 2030 EU Biodiversity Strategy.

Application in MSP:
Type of Issue:
Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
Coherence with other processes:
Key words:

Questions this practice may help answer:

  • What are the main characteristics of effective Maritime Spatial Planning?
  • How can MSP facilitate the establishment of cooperative management processes?
  • Which MSP best practice principles can be identified?

Implementation Context:

This study was drafted in response to the European's deadline to establish Maritime Spatial Plans for Member States.

Aspects / Objectives:

This study provides an analysis of the many outputs achieved when implementing Maritime Spatial Planning.


This article is based on several cases studies such as the Baltic sea, the North Sea, and British Columbia, and highlights the potential of MSP as a strategic tool.  

Main Outputs / Results:

This study highlights how MSP can facilitate collaborative management processes and provides several recommendations for policy-makers.


This study highlights "transferable lessons" that can be implemented in MSP processes. 

Responsible Entity:

Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament.

Costs / Funding Source:

Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament.

Contact person: (contactgreens[at]ep[dot]europa[dot]eu)