Skip to main content
European Commission logo

Recommendations for Maritime Spatial Planning for sustainable blue economies


The recommendations for MSP for sustainable blue economy were developed within the Plan4Blue project in September 2019. This project supports growth of the marine and maritime sectors emphasizing the need to find a balance between economic, social and environmental goals. The main objective of this practice is to build a cross-border MSP capacity. 

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 important considerations for MSP for sustainable blue economies?

Implementation Context:

The recommendations were developed in the context of the Plan4Blue project. 

Aspects / Objectives:

These recommendations are aimed at providing guidelines from Plan4Blue project activities with the purpose of building cross-border MSP capacity.


The document is divided into four parts. The first part of recommendations concerns the sustainable blue economy. These recommendations are based on the results of qualitative and quantitative assessments implemented in scenario process, as well as the economic and socioeconomic analyses in the framework of the Plan4Blue project.

  • Current status and potential of the selected blue economy businesses in the project area were studied with statistical analysis, supported by interviews for future trends and analysis of strategies for the blue industries. Economic performance of blue sectors was studied with statistical analysis and input-output tables. Current status and trends of socioeconomic, cross-border networks were identified with quantitative and qualitative methods.
  • The second part concerns the environmental management, the ecosystem risk management in the MSP context, the importance of establishing an integration of stakeholders, and ensuring the quality of MSP by environmental considerations.
  • The third part provides recommendations regarding the spatial analysis. The use of spatial data and participatory mapping methods were tested throughout the Plan4Blue project with an on-line questionnaire, in stakeholder workshops and as part of case studies.
  • The fourth and last part refers to cross-border collaboration and represents a summary of key findings over the course of the project. This issue was discussed during two workshops organised in December 2017 and January 2019, with participation of relevant authorities from Estonia and Finland. In addition, two sessions on cross-border collaboration were organised at the final conference of Plan4Blue in June 2019.

Main Outputs / Results:

The purpose of this document is to build a cross-border MSP capacity. The Annex provides the key aspects of MSP in Estonia and Finland studied during the Plan4Blue, as well as a list of recommendations.


The recommendations were developed within the Plan4Blue project for Estonian and Finnish sea areas, but could be adapted to any MSP process. 

Responsible Entity:

Finnish Environment Institute (Environmental Policy Centre, Marine Research Centre and Communications Unit).

Costs / Funding Source:

Funding Source: the report was developed within the Plan4Blue project funded by Interreg Central Baltic.

Costs: Overall project budget: € 1,998,000.

Contact person:

Riku Varjopuro

Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) 

Environmental Policy Centre/Interactive Governance
Phone: +358 295 251 725 (riku[dot]varjopuro[at]ymparisto[dot]fi)