Maritime spatial planning helps to ensure sustainable development and use of our seas. Its success hinges on how well the ecosystem-based approach is applied in its implementation.

Maritime spatial planning should ensure that maritime sectors - such as fisheries, shipping, aquaculture, oil and gas extraction and tourism - develop in a coordinated way and within clear environmental limits to ensure marine ecosystems remain healthy and biodiversity is conserved.

When the EU adopted the Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning in 2014, this meant the start of the largest maritime spatial planning process in the world. 23 EU countries have to deliver their maritime spatial plans by 2021. The plans have to be developed using the ecosystem based approach, i.e. a holistic and adaptive planning process that ensures ecosystems are managed within the limits to their functioning. Importantly it also means full involvement of stakeholders and citizens, to make informed and coordinated decisions about how to use marine resources sustainably.

Seas At Risk works to ensure maritime spatial plans help to restore our seas and oceans to health and to safeguard marine protected areas from harmful impacts. We empower our members to participate effectively in the planning processes.

More information

NGO joint position paper NGOs joint position paper on the EU Proposal for Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Management

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