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MSP-oriented Initial Assessment Report


The report collects and describes relevant information related to the main aspects that have to be considered in the MSP context of the Western Mediterranean sea-basin. Developed as part of the SIMWESTMED project, the report describes the main aspects in terms of physical characteristics of the area and the marine environment by considering the representative habitats and species of the West Med. All the major maritime uses and activities present in the area are described in their socio-economic aspects. The conflicts and synergies among uses and environment are listed and described to ensure the adoption of the ecosystem-based approach. The report ends with the relevant trans-boundary issues identified by the different partners of the SIMWESTMED in order to favour the beginning of cross-border collaboration in the basin.

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 maritime uses and activities present in the Western Mediterranean sea basin?
  • What are the main socioeconomic trends and national strategies of maritime uses in the Western Mediterranean?
  • What are the conflicts and synergies between the main socioeconomic activities in the Western Mediterranean sea basin?
  • How can national maritime policies of Spain, France, Italy and Malta be aligned?

Implementation Context

This report falls within the scope of the SIMWESTMED project, intended to support the implementation of the MSP Directive by Spain, France, Italy and Malta within their marine waters in the Western Mediterranean region, as well as to contribute to supporting cross-border cooperation between MS in relation to the implementation of the MSP Directive. The report is part of the action C.1 of the SIMWESTMED project, which developed a basin-scale analysis/initial assessment strongly MSP oriented. This report contributes to supporting the implementation of Maritime Spatial Planning in the Western Mediterranean Sea.

Aspects / Objectives

The report aims to entail a collection of information across the European countries of the Western Mediterranean region and the Strait of Sicily, including Malta waters.


Member States involved in the SIMWESTMED project completed a ‘Country Fiche’, a document that has led to the development of shared knowledge regarding the marine area considered in the SIMWESTMED project. The initial assessment used existing information gathered within the framework of the Barcelona convention, MSFD, CFP, WFD, HBD, SEA/EIA, PELAGOS and official projects (e.g., ADRIPLAN and MEDTRENDS). The initial assessment is based mainly on desk-based reviews in order to build a shared synthetic view on the Western Mediterranean region. The information has been organised in a comparable way to carry out an analysis of the main drivers and issues that need to be considered for future MSP processes.

The report has been prepared in collaboration with the coordinator of the Eastern Mediterranean project (SUPREME - Supporting Maritime Spatial Planning in the Eastern Mediterranean) in order to have a complete picture of the situation in the Mediterranean.

Main Outputs / Results

This report provides an overview of the area’s characteristics. It is the harmonised output of all available information. It describes marine and maritime aspects relevant for MSP in the Western Mediterranean (particularly cross-border issues), key sectoral and socio-economic trends and emerging pressures, legal and transboundary issues, and governance aspects. As such, the report identifies key issues (main activities and priority conservation issues) and data gaps. A focus is the PELAGOS area and the Barcelona Convention ICM Protocol implementation.


This report provides a common understanding of the Western Mediterranean area in its environmental and socio-economic characteristics and needs, considering planning priorities and addressing the critical cross-border issues and data gaps.   Hence, national authorities in the Western Mediterranean region and maritime spatial planners can use this report for future MSP processes. Moreover, this report can help the authorities of the European countries of the Western Mediterranean to develop together management strategies related to the maritime space and activities.

Responsible Entity


Costs / Funding Source

This report was a deliverable of the project SIMWESTMED, co-funded by the EC – DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE)

Contact person

Pierpaolo Campostrini

Managing Director of CORILA

Email: (pierpaolo[dot]campostrini[at]ve[dot]ismar[dot]cnr[dot]it)