Skip to main content
European Commission logo

Ireland’s National Marine Planning Framework Baseline Report


This National Marine Planning Framework Baseline Report represents a further step towards the development of a national marine plan for Ireland. Further to the policy set out in „Harnessing Our Ocean’s Wealth“ (2012), this document presents an analysis of the current understanding of key maritime sectors in Ireland, along with their future development, the likely spatial implications and social, economic and environmental impacts. It is a consultation document, which sets out to prompt discussion and consideration amongst stakeholders. Following the consultation period (ending 14th Dec 2018), the feedback will be used to inform the development of the draft national marine plan. 

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

Questions this practice may help answer:

  • What are the overarching goals for MSP in Ireland?
  • What is the current status of key maritime sectors in Ireland, and what are the future ambitions to 2040?
  • ​How will maritime planning interact with land-planning?

Implementation Context:

The purpose of this consutlation document is to set out the context in which the marine spatial plan is being developed and help to identify the key issues marine planning will need to address. It sets out: 

  • The policy, legislative and regulatory context for Marine Spatial Planning in general and, more specifically, for the development of Ireland’s first plan; 
  • A description of the “as is” situation in terms of existing sectoral development and activities in Ireland’s maritime area, including an identification of the future opportunities and constraints for each; 
  • An initial elaboration of potential high level objectives for Ireland’s first National Marine Planning Framework, informed by Ireland’s Integrated Marine Plan (Harnessing Our Ocean’s Wealth, HOOW) and the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive 2014/89/EU; and 
  • A number of consultation questions or issues intended to prompt discussion and consideration amongst stakeholders. Responses to these questions will be a crucial input to the draft plan.

The NMPF represents the first formal dialogue and engagement exercise and will inform the next steps in the process, including the development of objectives and policies in the draft plan. HOOW provides the strategic national policy context for Ireland’s maritime area and the NMPF will be the spatial articulation of that overarching policy vision.

Aspects / Objectives:

  • Present the current situation regarding each of the main maritime sectors and how they intend to develop by 2040,
  • Identify the implications of these for other sectors along with the potential social, environmental and economic impacts. 
  • Set out the consultation process for this document and how this will inform future policy development


The sections of the report provide background information and scene setting for each of the key marine sectors, drawing together and summarising evidence and issues that have emerged based on data and information collected to date, national context and policy, relevant existing plans, and discussions with stakeholders. For each sector information is presented under the following headings:

  • Key Evidence: summarises the key information for that sector, including national context and policy, relevant plans, data and information; 
  • Issues for Delivery: sets out key current issues and predicted future challenges for delivery in the sector; 
  • Issues for Other Sectors: outlines how the sector interacts with other activities;
  • Issues for Sustainability: considers the social, economic and environmental impacts of the sector.

This baseline report marks the first opportunity for formal public participation with a 3 month consultation period running from publication until Friday 14 December 2018.

Main Outputs / Results:

A consultation document has been published based on compilation of data and information regarding sectoral activities, current and future, and setting this out in relation to the overarching maritime planning process in Ireland. The full baseline report is available on line at:…


The NMPF specifically addresses the implementation of the MSP Directive in Ireland, however it presents an example of marine planning at national scale which may be of interest to other nations. 

Responsible Entity:

Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government

Government of Ireland / Rialtas na hÉireann

Costs / Funding Source:

Government of Ireland / Rialtas na hÉireann