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Multi-Use Analysis Methodology


The Multi-Use Analysis report provides a clear overview of multi-use potential (including environmental, economic and societal benefits) in European sea basins. It also highlights major barriers (inappropriate regulations, operational, environmental, health and safety, societal and legal aspects) stalling the transition of multi-use of ocean from a concept to real life recognition and practical implementation. 

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 methods and criteria can be used to analyse multi-use across sea basins?
  • What multi-use combinations are relevant in the EU sea basins?
  • What are the main challenges and opportunities for multi-use in European sea basins ?

Implementation Context:

This document is of direct practical use to planners aiming to better understand the multi-use opportunities and challenges across the EU sea basins. It provides clear overview of challenges that may be relevant to be addressed in the MSP, and suggests recommendations on how to do so. The document also explains the methodology used to define and classify multi-use, and analyse various combinations across the 23 EU Member States.  As such, document can be of use to national planning authorities who are planning to consider and integrate multi-use concept in MSP.

More specifically, the insights from this report may serve the needs of several target groups: 

  • policy makers – to support with the decision making in regard to multi-use and its adequate policy support; 
  • future multi-use project initiators – to foster recognition on multi-use opportunities in a given country or region; 
  • funding bodies - to broaden understanding of promising multi-uses to be targeted with their funding programmes; 
  • maritime spatial planners and regulators - to advise multi-use analysis and selection of multi-use combinations to be considered when developing or revising plans and/or multi-use relevant legislation and guidance; 
  • national, regional and local administration – to increase institutional capacity when dealing with innovative initiatives which require formal administrative intervention.

Aspects / Objectives:

The objectives of the analysis were to: 

  • Show the potential of ocean space by highlighting which MU combinations have strong socio-economic and environmental drivers and which locations should be points of focus for such MU development; 
  • Highlight where MU benefits could be realized, drawing attention to possible incentives that could facilitate the implementation of the multi-use concept; 
  • Analyse real and perceived barriers of selected MU combinations at various levels/scales (national, regional and sea basin) and drawing attention to barriers that can be overcome. 
  • Highlight MU good practices and priority lines for further development. 


The multi-use analysis was based on a multi-level approach. Namely, the researchers have reviewed and analysed a variety of multi-use combinations at the local (7 case studies), national (23 EU Member States) and sea basin (5 EU sea basins) level. The case study, national and sea basin reports were compared across sea basins to understand the state of play of multi-use across Europe. The report also builds on the results of the three MUSES stakeholder workshops.

The findings of this report are extracted from analysis at different scales including: 

On the national (all EU coastal countries) and Sea Basins level large scale analysis was conducted for a wide variety of MU combinations. Information was collected from the desk research, including national regulatory and policy documents, plans and strategies, past MU projects, and industry sources as well as engagement with relevant stakeholders on sea basin and national level; 
On the local/regional level (7 case studies in 9 locations) analysis had a more focused approach, and was undertaken only for a limited number of multi-use combinations. Information was collected via desk reseach of national and sub-national documents, available studies and research deliverables as well as engagement with local stakeholders. 

Multi-level approach to analysis of multi-use in European seas


This report classifies Multi-Use into two distinctive groups which are representative of the two main sectors that are driving MU combinations in Europe. Analysis from the MUSES project shows that both tourism and offshore renewable energy are the main driving sectors for multi-uses informing the following: 

  • combinations with tourism sector; 
  • combinations with energy sector. 

The report is structured in a way that each chapter focuses on one multi-use combination, while the final chapter provides cross-cutting recommendations on the following topics found to be of particular importance in the multi-use context: 

  • Integration and Coordination, 
  • Policy and Regulation,
  • Capacity Building, 
  • Research Priorities, 
  • Marketing and Dissemination/Promotion. 

A summary overview of analysis was also provided for each of the combinations. 

An example of the aquaculture and offshore wind multi-use analysis overview

In some chapters, certain aspects were explored more in detail, depending on their relevance for a specific multi-use combination. For example, an incentive regime was identified as one of the major factors for multi-use development of combined renewable energies (e.g. offshore wind and wave). Thus, the review of support schemes for the renewables was conducted for the North Sea Region countries.

Overview of the renewable energy support schemes in the North Sea

Main Outputs / Results:

Multi-Use Analysis report in the PDF format.



The analysis was conducted for all 23 coastal Member States. The methodology used has the geographical and thematic transferability. 


Marine Scotland


Horizon 2020 


Bruce Buchannan 

Marine Scotland

Email: (bruce[dot]buchanan[at]gov[dot]scot)