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MSP exercise in Northern Adriatic


The analysis on ADRIPLAN Focus Areas downscaled and applied at the sub-regional level the overall MSP methodology developed by the project. This analysis entered in more details of the site-specific environmental, socio-economic, regulatory and governance conditions, allowing to propose for those areas more focused, precise, short-term and locally applicable measures or recommendations. In particular for the Focus Area 1 (Northern Adriatic Sea), the analysis enabled to identify a variety of conflicts and synergies that should be addressed by specific, multi-level and cross-sectoral planning measures. Three relevant planning issues were selected for this area, related to: (i) need to spatially define the localization of the electricity connection between Italy and Slovenia through a sub-marine cable, (ii) necessity to identify compensatory actions for the fishery sector to be applied following the possible development of the Venice offshore terminal; (iii) need to promote the infrastructural development of the port of Trieste. Starting from the analysis of these issues, some pilot actions have been drafted.

Application in MSP:
Type of Issue:
Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
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Development / Implementation Context

This MSP exercise in the Northern Adriatic Sea was implemented in the context of the ADRIPLAN project (ADRiatic Ionian maritime spatial PLANning). ADRIPLAN has the overall objective to analyse and promote transboundary MSP in the Adriatic and Ionian region, a Mediterranean area bordered by many states and crowded by multiple uses of the sea and valuable ecosystems to protect. Other studies and projects already showed the great potential for MSP in the area (e.g. Plancoast; SHAPE; Policy Research Corporation’s study, 2011). The ADRIPLAN project developed proposals and recommendations for an operational cross-border MSP process in the region. In addition, ADRIPLAN aimed at promoting the harmonized implementation of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian region (EUSAIR). The ADRIPLAN project was implemented by 17 Partners from 4 EU countries of the Adriatic and Ionian region, including: 8 scientific partners and 9 institutional partners. 17 observers also contributed to the project.

Legal basis

This is a MSP exercise, not legally binding.

Impact on planning and decision-making

The ADRIPLAN project aimed at improving the on-going process to develop MSP in the Adriatic and Ionian region, to overcoming barriers of full participation of all neighbouring countries in the process and promoting sound technically/scientifically based political decisions in order to achieve a coherent transnational approach to the spatial planning of the marine seas.

Area covered

ADRIPLAN study area is the Adriatic and Ionian region considered as a whole, zooming into two focus areas, one in the Northern Adriatic Sea (referring to the present practice) and the other in Southern Adriatic Sea - Northern Ionian Seas.

This is the AdriPlan study area

Historic development

The MSP exercise was developed as part of the ADRIPLAN project, funded by DG MARE. The project ran from December 2013 to July 2015.

Objectives of the plan

ADRIPLAN Focus Area 1 is characterized by a high intensity of uses, and will be significantly influenced by new anthropic activities that will be likely developed in the next decade. For the project purposes, three relevant planning issues were selected:

Need to spatially define the localization of the electricity interconnection between Italy and Slovenia through a submarine cable;
Necessity to identify compensatory actions for the fishing sector to be applied following the development of the Venice offshore terminal;
Need to promote the infrastructural development of the Port of Trieste.

Designated Uses

The following recommendations were provided for the three planning issues analysed in the ADRIPLAN MSP exercise in Northern Adriatic.


Issue 1 - Electricity interconnection between Italy and Slovenia through a submarine cable

  • Place the position of the cable towards Croatian - Slovenian border in a larger buffer zone in order to permit adjustment in the execution of the project, to limit interference with fishing routes;
  • Adjust the position of the cable to minimize impacts on Natura 2000 sites;
  • Deploy the cable under the seabed to limit possible damage due to trawling fishing activities and to anchorage;
  • Modify the land - sea connection in the eastern part of the project to reduce conflicts with mussel farming and with underwater archaeological sites.

This is a schematic draft of the planning proposal


Issue 2 - Venice offshore terminal and fishery

  • Definition of temporary precautionary measures during the phase of offshore construction;
  • Identification of spatial compensatory measures to mitigate environmental impacts on fish nursery areas, on relevant ecosystems and conflicts with fish farming activities;
  • Compilation of a draft containing compensatory measures to be developed during the different phases of the Venice offshore terminal construction (excavation, dredging, handling and lying of the material until the commissioning of terminal). The measure has to guarantee the long-term economic sustainability of fishery.

This is a schematic draft of the planning proposal concerning interaction

Issue 3 - Development of infrastructure in the port of Trieste

The area included in the plan of development of Trieste port occupies a Site of National Concern (SIN, Trieste) with a total area of 1,700 ha, of which 1,200 ha are in the sea. The site is characterised by hydrocarbons and heavy metals pollution due to past long-lasting refinery activities, which have contaminated the sediments inside the harbour. The entrance corridor to the commercial port and to the oil terminal passes in front of the historical village of Muggia and in front of a coastal area dedicated to tourism and recreational activities. The southern coast, close to the Slovenian border, is used also for aquaculture with several mussel farms. The planning measure should define:

  • Temporary precautionary measures in the phase of construction, to avoid or limit any contamination during excavation and dredging;
  • Adequate timing of the construction, in order to limit conflicts with the intense maritime traffic activities already taking place in the Gulf of Trieste;
  • Appropriate precautionary measurements to avoid accidents and collisions.

Strategic Environmental Assessment

As pilot MSP exercise, Strategic Environmental Assessment was not applied.

Public Participation

Within ADRIPLAN the measures related with Focus Area 1 were discussed in an informal context. The project organized stakeholder participation to MSP exercises. Stakeholders’ workshops were held in Trieste (Italy) and Strunjan (Slovenia) and ADRIPLAN project main issues were presented at a conference in Rijeka (Croatia). Details on workshops results are available on ADRIPLAN web site (

Transboundary Consultation

Some issues related with trans-boundary cooperation in the Northern Adriatic were raised in the framework of ADRIPLAN project:

During the workshop held in Trieste (Italy) on 7 July 2014. Issues discussed concerned: 1) maritime transport, 2) fishery and aquaculture, 3) maritime and coastal tourism, 4) energy and oil & gas, 5) marine protected areas;
During the workshop held in Strunjan (Slovenia) on 3 March 2015. Issues discussed concerned: 1) energy LNG and the related planning objectives, 2) energy electricity and the related planning objectives, 3) maritime transport and tourism and 4) infrastructural development - projected offshore port of Venice.

Electronic resources

Project website ( makes available the following documents, respectively including detailed and summary description of ADRIPLAN methodology and MSP exercises:

ADRIPLAN Conclusions and Recommendations. A short manual for MSP implementation in the Adriatic – Ionian region (multiple languages);

ADRIPLAN Developing a maritime spatial plan for the Adriatic – Ionian Region.


The practice was elaborated under the Project Adriplan ( co-financed by the European Union (DG MARE). Direct costs of ist elaboration are unknown.

Contact Person

Andrea Barbanti (ADRIPLAN coordinator from 10.12.2013 to 31.10.2014)

National Research Council, Institute of Marine Science

E-mail: (andrea[dot]barbanti[at]ve[dot]ismar[dot]cnr[dot]it)


Pierpaolo Campostrini (ADRIPLAN coordinator from 01.11.2014 to 31.07.2015)

Managing Director of CORILA (Consortium for Managing Scientific Research on Venice Lagoon System) and CNR-ISMAR associate

E-mail: (campostrini[at]corila[dot]it)