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West Mediterranean

MSP EU Legend 1
This map was compiled from different international sources such as EMODnet, EEA or Marine Regions. Information obtained from these sources was cross-checked with data from national sources. While compilation was carried out by the European MSP Platform, validation and quality assurance remain the responsibility of the primary data sources.

View all ongoing and past projects for the West Mediterranean

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Contact email:

westmed [at] (westmed[at]maritime-spatial-planning[dot]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

General introduction to the Western Mediterranean Sea basin

The European Western Mediterranean Sea basin includes the Mediterranean coastlines belonging to Spain, France and Malta, as well as the portion of Italian coastlines along the Thyrrenian Sea and Strait of Sicily. The Western Mediterranean basin benefits from a number of strengths related to its strategic positioning, among which the fact that it is part of one of the principle maritime corridors in the world and the gateway to Africa for European countries. However, a specific political framework in the West Mediterranean Sea basin, has yet to be developed for promoting and supporting cross-border and cross-sectorial maritime spatial planning. Instead, cross-border MSP initiatives have, so far, mainly been created at pan-Mediterranean level through ad hoc projects. Western Mediterranean EU Member States share the sea-basin with Morocco and Algeria.

The Western Mediterranean is a traditional and consolidated tourist destination in the region, in particular its northern rim. Taken together, fisheries and aquaculture are the second most important activity in terms of GVA and employment. Goods transport (circa 700 million tons of freight and 14 million TEU traffic) represent close to 40% of Mediterranean values.

Human activities involve a number of environmental pressures causing high or very high environmental impacts in marine and/or coastal ecosystems. Maritime, but also land-based activities (including in particular the industrial sector- along with a progressively more urbanised coastline), are at the origin of a wide spectrum of environmental pressures, ranging from air and water pollution to waste generation. Today, overexploitation of fishing resources is ranked among one of the most important pressures in the region, along with biodiversity, habitat loss and contamination.

Countries and MSP in the Western Mediterranean

France: MSP Adopted

Italy: MSP Process ongoing

Malta: MSP Adopted

Spain: MSP Adopted

Additional information