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Zadar county integrated sea use and management plan

Zadar County


The Zadar County Spatial Plan was developed in 2001 and was revised several times (last update was in 2015). As for the other Croatian coastal Counties, the geographic scope of the Zadar plan includes both the land and the sea up to the limit of territorial waters. Therefore, the Plan identifies zones for various maritime sues, the principal one being mariculture, accounting for about 60% of total Croatian production. The plan has been harmonised with the Croatian national spatial development strategy and the spatial plans of adjacent counties and was adopted by the County Assembly.

Application in MSP:
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Development / Implementation Context

Seven Croatian coastal Counties have developed their spatial plans which also include provisions for the marine areas up to the external limit of the territorial sea.

The Zadar County Spatial Plan was developed in 2001 and was revised several times. The plans identifies some sea-use zones (within the limit of territorial sea) for various maritime activities. The plan also obliges municipalities and towns to define sea uses (within their coastal belts), through their spatial plans.

Legal basis

The plan was initially developed following the provisions of the Physical Planning and Construction Act (1994, and amendments). The plan has been revised several times, including necessary legal adjustments. The alignment with the Regulation on Protected Coastal Area Development and Conservation (2004) was particularly important for the spatial planning of the coastal area. The Plan was adopted by the County Assembly.

The regulation for the implementation of the plan (Odredbe za provođenje) has been developed; last version was issues in 2015.

Impact on planning and decision-making

The plan has the legal force of subordinate regulations. According to the Physical Planning Act, all the city and municipal spatial plans (local level plans) in Zadar County must be aligned with this Plan.

The Zadar County Plan was harmonised with the national spatial development strategic documents and relevant spatial plans according to the regulations.

Area covered

The total area covered by the Plan is 7,276 km², which includes 3,643 km² of land and 3,632 km² of marine space.

Historic development

The plan was adopted in 2001, and amended in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2015.

Objectives of the plan

The main objectives of the plan include economic development, coastal development, rational use of natural resources, landscape protection and protection of historical heritage.

Designated Uses

Referring to MSP and LSI themes, the plan has designated:

  • marine ports of different purposes;
  • marine traffic routes (international and domestic);
  • island heliports;
  • sea salt harvesting area;
  • underwater cables and water supply;
  • areas of special restrictions of uses:
    • particularly sensitive and especially endangered areas, sources of marine pollution, areas defined according to building intensity along the coastline (natural coast, planned building areas, illegal construction of different intensity);
    • protected areas (coastal and underwater archaeological zones, protected landscape, natural park);
    • restricted area (1000 m of land and 300 m of sea surface measured from the coast line).
  • areas for mariculture with detailed zoning and capacities for specific types (including both fish and shellfish species).

In particular, the plan identifies four different marine zones for mariculture, which is one of the most important maritime activities for Zadar County, bringing approximately 60% of total mariculture production in Croatia. Zonation for the different aquaculture typologies is based on the “Study on the use and protection of the sea and seabed in Zadar County”, which main objective was to initiate the ICZM process in the County, and, at the same time, propose zones for different types of mariculture, based on suitability assessment.

Zones suitable for the fish cage farming of sea brass and sea bream. Source: Ognjen Škunca, 2006. Initiation of the Integrated Coastal Area Management process in Zadar County. Journal of Applied Ecology, Drypis 2/1, 1.

Strategic Environmental Assessment

A Strategic Environmental Assessment was not carried out, but the plan contains provisions related to the protection of the environment and the natural landscape.

Public Participation

Public hearings were carried out during the preparation of the plan and the amendments. Major stakeholders were involved according to the regulations and their views on specific subjects were sought for. The County Institute for Spatial Planning was responsible for the preparation of the plan.