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Mapping Baltic Fisheries in support of Maritime Spatial Planning


This case study addresses the integration of the fisheries management into the Maritime Spatial Planning process in the Baltic Sea Region.

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

  • How can Maritime Spatial Planning help allocating fishing possibilities?
  • How to involve fishermen and fishing industry in Maritime Spatial Planning?
  • How to increase collaboration between the stakeholders during the Maritime Spatial Planning process?

Implementation Context

This case study was developed in the framework of the GAP2 project which ran from 2011 to 2016. With reform of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy now underway, GAP2 wants to demonstrate that by working together scientists, fishermen and policy makers can find sustainable solutions to the challenging issues of fisheries management.

The project thus brings scientists, fishermen and policy makers together. How the project does this ranges from funding exchange trips between research and management organisations, to engaging with wider society about fisheries management, to coordinating 13 research projects (case studies) centered upon fishers and scientists working together.

The case study we are presenting now is one of those 13 case studies, dealing with Maritime Spatial Planning in Estonia.

Aspects / Objectives

The aim of the case study is:

  • To identify and map the actual or planned competing sea uses and assess their possible impact on the spatial and temporal allocation of fishing possibilities for the Baltic fisheries.
  • To develop credible, relevant and sound arguments to be used in balancing environmental, economic and social interests in a process of the Maritime Spatial Planning.
  • To help fishermen and the fishing industry be informed partners in Maritime Spatial Planning.


The case study is using ‘Mutual Learning’ to advance collaborative problem solving between public authorities and stakeholders involved in the MSP process. The focal question is: how to increase collaboration between a range of stakeholders negotiating during the process? This case study has developed and applied a step-by-step Mutual Learning methodology:

1) move towards interest-based collaborative negotiations,

2) understand the other side’s thinking,

3) focus on shared interests,

4) look for solutions to common problems,

5) apply the Participatory GIS based Mutual Learning tool.

Main Outputs / Results

This case study continuously contributes to Pärnu County’s Maritime Spatial Plan through delivering mutual learning events, resulting in data/map layers, methodology, presentations and on-going participation. Special attention is paid to fishers’ concerns regarding potential damage to fish stocks in connection to planned wind farm development phases - construction, operation and decommission. The BaltFishPlan website is developed, and up and running as a Participatory GIS tool for spatial visualization and analysis of fisheries interests’. Results have been presented at 25 international conferences and seminars, and 2 conference papers have been published.

Contact Person

Dr Robert Aps

University of Tartu ( robert[dot]aps[at]ut[dot]ee)

Responsible Entity

University of Tartu

Costs / Funding Source

Cost: Unknown

Funding source: partly financed by the European Commission through the FP7 Capacities Programme