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Study of Conditions of Spatial Development of Polish Sea Areas

Polish Inventory Study


1. Creation of system within the country of sharing MSP relevant information and establishment an information hub (Maritime Institute). Disadvantage – one time effort 2. Translation of information into Visual artefacts in order to stimulate discussion with stakeholders, 3. Depth of analysis: number of sectors analysed and paying attention to land-sea interrelations,

Application in MSP:
Type of Issue:
Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
Coherence with other processes:

Development / Implementation Context

The Study of Conditions of Spatial Development of Polish Sea Areas was ordered by the Directors of Maritime Offices in Szczecin, Słupsk and Gdynia and prepared by a multidisciplinary team of scientists and practitioners in 2014. The Study was ordered by the maritime administration to collect the knowledge, data and information on maritime areas of Poland. It also served as a starting point for stakeholder process/dialogue on the desired future uses of the Polish sea areas. The study was written in Polish and translated into English in order to facilitate transboundary exchange of information. It is available for download here:


Legal basis

The study is not binding for Polish planning authorities. It is not a legal document. It does not decide what solutions will be adopted in the Polish maritime spatial plans, or what plans for which sea areas will be developed.  It was prepared as a background document in support of the succeeding process of preparation of the binding plans.

Impact on planning and decision-making

Despite being non-binding the Study, because of its content,  is of significant practical importance for the work on the maritime spatial  plans, e.g. in conflict and synergy analysis and during formulation of the planning solutions.

Area covered

Boundaries of Polish sea areas and of jurisdiction of Maritime Offices in Gdynia, Szczecin and Słupsk. Source: Study of Conditions of Spatial Development of Polish Sea Areas (2016)

The Study covers all Polish sea areas, i.e. the Exclusive Economical Zone (EEZ), the territorial sea, the sea waters between the baseline of the territorial sea and the boundaries of land lots bordering with the sea, and the internal sea waters of the Gulf of Gdańsk. The Study does not cover sea waters within the boundaries of ports and the Szczecin and Vistula Lagoons. The territorial sea and internal sea waters considered in this Study cover the area of 10 029 km2 (territorial sea – 8813 km2 and internal sea waters, i.e. the Gulf of Gdańsk – 1216 km2).

Historic development

The Study constitutes the first phase of the official maritime spatial planning process in Poland that started at the end of  2013. Preparation of the Study was financed from the budget of the Polish maritime administration. Information and data that formed the backbone of the Study was delivered as in-kind contribution from various national agencies on the request of Minister responsible for MSP in Poland.

Objectives of the study

The aim of the Study is to collect and analyse information for the needs of preparing maritime spatial plan(s) for Polish sea areas. This includes information on the state of the marine ecosystem, and existing ways of using the sea areas. The study also identifies main conflicts and out lines key issues that attention should be paid to during the next phases of preparation of the maritime spatial plans in Poland.

Designated Uses analysed in the Study

Present and future uses. Source: Study of Conditions of Spatial Development of Polish Sea Areas (2016)

Following information have been collected on the state of environment:

  • oceanographic (physical and chemical parameters, water depth, currents, waves, wind, magnitude of storms, water level, etc.),
  • nature (boundaries of areas protected by law, presence of habitats and valuable species of fauna and flora, photic zones, spawning and feeding areas of commercially important fish, pressures),
  • hydromorphological (coastal dynamics),
  • geological, including types of sediments, mineral resources, etc.

Following information have been collected on the ways the sea space is used or is planned to be used:

  • shipping routes, roadsteads, anchorages, fairways, traffic separation schemes,
  • cables and pipelines,
  • areas of exploration and of extraction (also potential) of mineral resources
  • areas of cultural heritage – wrecks (including wrecks – war cemeteries), underwater remains of settlements, etc.,
  • dumping sites (for dredged soil),
  • military areas,
  • fishing activity areas and areas important for maintenance and conservation of fish species,
  • areas used for sports, tourism and recreation.

Some of those areas have been classified as areas of restricted or limited use, e.g. military training grounds, zones of dumped munitions, areas for nature protection, areas devoted exclusively to shipping and some others.

Areas of limited use. Source: Study of Conditions of Spatial Development of Polish Sea Areas (2016)

Moreover, the investments planned on land that might have impact on the use of the sea space have been examined as well (focus on tourism and ports).

Investment plans.. Source: Study of Conditions of Spatial Development of Polish Sea Areas (2016)

Public Participation

The Study was discussed with interested parties. First, at the beginning of the process, a meeting was organised and discussion opened in June 2014, especially on the structure of the document and the scope of collected data. A second meeting was organised in November 2014, during the final phase of drafting, in order to present the collected material, verify its correctness (agreement with the real state) and verify methods of graphic presentation. Also, together with stakeholders, an introductory conflict and synergy analysis was carried out. The final document is a result of these debates and includes the remarks collected there.

Transboundary Consultation

The study was not subject to the transboundary consultations. However, it was widely presented at different Baltic Sea Region fora in particular those  attended by the MSP authorities. For instance it was discussed in 2015 at the Baltic Space meeting devoted to the similar reports i.e. stock-taking and inventory documents produced in the course of the MSP process in the BSR countries.

Contact Person

Magda Matczak (magmat[at]im[dot]gda[dot]pl)

phone: +4858 3018724