News archive



Dec 31

Check out the last newsletter of the year and inform yourself about the latest MSP news! 

Read the newsletter here

Dec 13

Irish Ministers published 'Towards a Marine Spatial Plan for Ireland – a roadmap for the development of Ireland’s first marine spatial plan'.. The MSP for Ireland, which will be developed over the next 3 years, will provide a coherent framework in which specific sectoral policies and objectives can be realised. It is intended to become a decision making tool for regulatory authorities and policy makers into the future in a number of ways including, decisions on individual consent applications which will have to have regard to the provisions of the plan in the same way that terrestrial plans form part of the decision making tool-kit in the on-land planning process. It is also intended to form a key input to the development of future sectoral policies, similar to role of the National Planning Framework, Ireland2040, in terms of terrestrial sectoral policy development. The Government had set out clear and ambitious objectives under Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth (HOOW) - Ireland’s integrated marine plan - to enable our marine potential to be realised.  A clear framework for MSP, as a parallel to the National Planning Framework, Ireland2040, would bring a new level of coherence to marine resources are planned and managed.

Read the roadmap here



A good practice guideline report has been produced by the British Marine Aggregate Producers Association, the representative body for the marine aggregate sector in the UK, together with the Crown Estate. The report entitled “Good Practice Guidance: Extraction by Dredging of Aggregates from England’s Seabed” aims to support industry carry out marine aggregate extraction in a sustainable manner. The UK has the world’s largest marine aggregate industry and the sector is playing an increasingly important role in the providing materials needed for construction. Within the UK industry is regulated by the Marine Management Organisation through the marine licensing process, and also managed by The Crown Estate, in their capacity as owner of non-energy minerals on the seabed. The Marine Management Organisation along with other government organisations Defra, Natural England, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Historic England and The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) were involved in the production of this guidance document.  The document contains an overview of the marine aggregate industry as well as:

  • planning
  • licensing
  • environmental assessment
  • monitoring
  • mitigation and management methods

Of particular interest to marine planners is a chapter on Mineral Planning Policy and other Planning Provisions. The document is available for download here.

In the spring of 2017, the review process of the Belgian MSP for the period 2002-2026 kicked off with an informal consultation. The received reactions have now been transformed into a first draft of the MSP. Now, the revision process is entering into its formal phase, having been presented to the appropriate commission, existing of all federal and Flemish government services, on 14 November. This commission will present their advice on the draft plan within 30 days of submission. In the first half of 2018, a large -scale and formal consultation process will be initiated and citizens are invited to send in their comments to the draft plan at that time. A public consultation meeting will also be organised. The Belgian Minister for the North Sea, Privacy and Social Fraud, Philippe de Backer, invites all stakeholders to take part in the formal consultation process in 2018, so that Belgium may confirm their international leading role in the implementation of MSP during 2020-2026.

More about the Belgian MSP process

The European Council reached a political agreement on a regulation concerning the 2018 fishing opportunities for the main commercial fish stocks in the Atlantic and the North Sea. As a result of this Council decision, the number of fish stocks managed at maximum sustainable yield (MSY) levels will increase next year to 53, 9 more than in 2017. The agreement also foresees solutions for the critical state of eel and seabass stocks. The agreement will apply as from 1 January 2018.

More about the agreement

On 30 November an informal Ministerial Meeting of the western Mediterranean countries marked the official launch of the Initiative for the sustainable development of the blue economy in the western Mediterranean. Ministers from the ten participating countries (Algeria, France, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia) adopted a declaration providing full political endorsement for the initiative, which was adopted last April by the European Commission and endorsed by the Council in June. The parties agreed on the governance of the initiative and established a steering committee with a co-chairing regime.

By fostering cooperation between the ten countries concerned, this initiative has three main goals:

  • A safer and more secure maritime space
  • A smart and resilient blue economy
  • Better governance of the sea.

More about the initiative

Background of the conference

In 2015, the Ministers and other Heads of Delegations of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) adopted the UfM Ministerial Declaration on Blue Economy. To ensure appropriate governance structures, the UfM Forum on Blue Economy was established as a “…framework of dialogue on sustainable blue economy…” composed of various elements, among which the UfM Regional Stakeholder Conference on Blue Economy.

The UfM Regional Stakeholder Conference on Blue Economy took place in Naples (Italy) on 29-30 November 2017. This international and multi-stakeholder event gathered approx. 300 participants, including governments’ representatives, regional/local authorities, business sector, universities/training and education centres, international development agencies, international organizations, and civil society organizations dealing with marine and maritime issues.

Aim of the conference

The conference had the following objectives: i) to provide a regional platform for discussing opportunities and challenges inherent to the promotion of blue economy; ii) to exchange views on alternative approaches and methodologies capable to boost blue economy; iii) to identify policies/strategies able to harness the potential of blue economy in promoting growth, jobs, investments and reduce poverty in a sustainable way.

The way toward these objectives was discussed in twelve workshops. Topics were for example:

Ø  An integrated approach to the development of coastal communities in the region,

Ø  Addressing marine litter

Ø  Innovative financial schemes and technological advancements,

Ø  The status of maritime spatial planning,

Ø  Sustainable tourism

Ø  The BLUEMED Initiative for blue growth and jobs, and

Ø  Blue Entrepreneurship.

The documentation of the twelve workshops, including presentations, will be available soon.

On the second day of the conference a high level panel with Commissioner Mr. Karmenu Vella, the Secretary General of the UfM Mr. Fatallah Sijilmassi and others took place to discuss the future of Blue Economy in the Mediterranean Sea basin. The panel was closed with the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Secretariat of the UfM and the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean of the FAO.


For more information about this event, please contact and




The Welsh Government has published the long awaited first Draft Welsh National Marine Plan (WNMP). The plan will be the first marine plan for Welsh Seas representing the start of an ongoing cyclical planning process. The plan covers the inshore and offshore marine plan areas for which Welsh Ministers are the marine planning authority. The plan introduces a framework to support sustainable decision-making for the seas setting out the Welsh Governments vision and strategic objectives. Both general (economic, environmental and social) and sector specific policies are presented. The draft WNMP applies the Ecosystem Approach to help ensure the plan policies will contribute to Sustainable Development. Embedded within the plan the principles of the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources set out in the Environment (Wales) Act 2016. Unique to Wales, the WNMP applies working methodologies out in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 focussed on delivering across Wales’ well-being goals.

Consultation on the WNMP has now been launched and will run until 29th March 2018. Stakeholders are encouraged to provide feedback via the consultation document which can be accessed here. Read more

Download the draft plan here

The University of Liverpool along with the University of Oldenburg (lead), the University of Nantes, the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research and the University of Applied Science Breda are involved in the ERASMUS+ Strategic Partnership for Marine Spatial Planning (SP-MSP). The SP-MSP is aiming towards the development of a European higher education landscape in the emerging field of marine or maritime spatial planning. The partnership aims to develop various outputs including an online MSP Arena, multiplier events, lecturing, MSP roadshow and an MSP course module. It is with this last output we would kindly ask for your input. 

They have developed a short online survey to try and assess which educational and training needs those working or studying in the relatively new and emerging field of MSP consider most important at an undergraduate and postgraduate level. The survey has now closed.

More information can be found on the SP-MSP website.



The outputs from the meeting are now available, including a background document on 'green infrastructures & blue corridor maps linking MSP and MPAs, the new pan-Baltic SCOPE project, BaltSPACE, presentation of the new HOLAS II as well as further consideration of the BalticSCOPE project. Read more..

Nov 17

MUSES project


The Multi-Use in European Seas (MUSES) project has reached the halfway stage and is looking for input for the newly published interim report. The project also published a newsletter in October, with recent and upcoming activities.

More about the MUSES project

Nov 16

The European Marine Observation and Data Network has launched their new website, which will include a complete set of use cases. The website now includes a "Who can benefit from EMODnet" section that explains how the public sectorcivil societyprivate sector and research communities can get support from EMODnet. Make sure to also take a look at the new video of the Data Ingestion Portal here.

More about EMODnet