The deadline has been extended to July 10th to submit a proposal for a workshop or a project for the 4th Atlantic Stakeholder Platform Conference, which will take place on November 8th in Glasgow, UK. 

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The JPI Microplastics project has published a report on their first year of activities and four executive summaries are available:

  • BASEMAN - Defining the baselines and standards for microplastics analyses in European waters – summary 2016
  • EPHEMARE (PDF)  - Ecotoxicological effects of microplastics in marine ecosystems – summary 2016
  • PLASTOX - Direct and indirect ecotoxicological impacts of microplastics on marine organisms – summary 2016
  • WEATHER-MIC - How microplastic weathering changes its transport, fate and toxicity in the marine environment – summary 2016

The projects are the result of a joint call focusing on microplastics in the marine environment launched by ten member countries of JPI Oceans under the Pilot Action “Ecological Aspects of Microplastics” (BE, DE, ES, FR, IE, IT, NL, NO, PT, NO). The member countries selected four proposals for funding from January 2016 for a three year period.

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The Plan4Blue project has organised its first workshop “Scenarios for Blue Economy” in Helsinki, 15th-16th of June, 2017. It was the first of four stakeholder workshop, focusing on future scenarios of blue economy in the project area. The workshop was participated by 40 persons from Estonia and Finland representing different expertise from private and public sectors. The presentations can be viewed here. They have also published their first newsletter, and launched a survey aimed at defining key actors and networks of MSP in the Gulf of Finland and Archipelago Sea.

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The project SIMCelt: Maritime Spatial Planning: transboundary cooperation in the Celtic Seas is organising its closing conference on the 28th and 29th of November. The results of the project will be shared and key issues in transbounday working on the MSP Directive will be addressed. The conference will feature insights on data management, stakeholder engagement, cross-border working, ecosystems approach, cumulative impacts, evaluation and much more.

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The informal consultation of public and private stakeholders with regard to the review of the Belgian maritime spatial plan has been closed on the 30th of April. Close to 40 contributions have been received by the federal Secretary of State for North Sea, Philippe De Backer. There was a wide variety of contributors, including public authorities, interest groups, private companies, NGOs and citizens. It is clear that the Belgian part of the North Sea remains in high demand for various activities and for its ecological, cultural and other values. The Secretary of State is currently evaluating the contributions and preparing the pre-draft of the maritime spatial plan. Focused consultations with key players within the marine spatial planning process, including neighboring countries, will be part of this ongoing informal process.
You can view an English summary of the current maritime spatial plan here.


The new deadline to apply for Interreg V-A “Italy-Croatia” 2014-2020 will be 04/07/2017. The programme's objective is to increase the blue growth potential of the area. Read more...


The study, published by the European Commission, draws from a number of international case studies and should help elaborate recommendations that can support the international promotion and exchange of MSP.

The study focuses on 4 main deliverables:

  • The review of existing guidance and MSP processes, and compilation of a detailed inventory of MSP implementation outside the EU – the Global MSP Inventory;
  • An in-depth comparative analysis of four case studies of MSP implementation, including literature review, site visits and key informant interviews, that identifies lessons learned in MSP, and good practices in support of cross-border cooperation;
  • The formulation of recommendations on the international exchange of MSP, including recommendations on the application of MSP in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ);
  • The presentation of cross-border preliminary findings at the 2nd International MSP Conference (March 2017, Paris).

The main study report and accompanying four case study summary reports are available on the European Commission website. A description of the study in available in our Practices Database.




“Marine Spatial Planning – in a nutshell” is a five-minute film that explains MSP simply and dynamically. It is suitable for everyone: from local communities to planners and policy-makers.

The film is freely available and can be shared and viewed publicly without needing to request permission. Please use the film as widely as you can to spread the message about MSP!

This film has been financed by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety through its International Climate Initiative. It has been jointly produced by the global Blue Solutions Initiative and the MARISMA project in the Benguela Current region.

View it here.


The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products has published its monthly highlights.
Overexploited stocks decreased from 70% to 40% over the past ten years, according to a new report from the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF).

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The Commission Decision on good environmental status of marine waters, adopted on 17 May 2017, contains a number of criteria and methodological standards for determining good environmental status, in relation to the 11 descriptors of good environmental status laid down in Annex I of the Marine Directive. Read more:


If you are involved in marine protected areas in your professional life, do you see them as positive in providing benefits or negative in limiting what you can do? Do they support or restrict your business or other activities in the marine environment, and how do they contribute to the ‘blue economy’? Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) wants to understand your views.

Go to survey

How do marine protect areas affect you - benefit or challenge?
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are recognised as a key tool for marine conservation and already cover significant parts of some sea basins around Europe. In parallel, the ‘blue economy’ – industries based upon the ocean and its products - and demand for marine space across Europe is growing. The ‘blue economy’ is expected to play a significant role within the central EU policy of promoting jobs and growth.
A commonly held concern about MPAs is that they may constrain economic activity, adding costs to businesses and restricting opportunities for growth and jobs, even for those industries that are expected to benefit from improved marine biodiversity and environmental conditions more generally. This is important as interactions with MPAs will increase as the marine area under MPA designation expands and the blue economy continues to grow.
To ensure that the planning and management of MPAs can be taken forward to maximise benefits – for the marine environment, to the blue economy and society more generally - the linkages between maritime sectors and the potential benefits of MPAs need to be better understood. There is a need to integrate these linkages into decisions surrounding the management of MPAs.

Plymouth Marine Laboratory is carrying out a survey to find out how MPAs and other spatial protection measures provide benefits to the blue economy. They want to examine what these economic benefits are and how they are gained. The university is also interested in the role of MPA governance in conflict management, the creation of win-win situations between multiple users and the sustainable use of MPAs. Whether you are an MPA manager or work in ‘blue economy’ sectors, they would like to hear your opinions. No matter which part of the ‘blue economy’ you are involved in (fisheries, aquaculture, tourism and recreation, energy, shipping transport, seaports and marinas, blue biotechnology, seabed aggregates and other mining, dredging and offshore construction) they would like to know what you think of MPAs and their economic impact. You can access the survey directly at and it will take no more than 15 minutes to complete.

If you have any questions or would like to find out more about this survey and its outcomes, please contact Dr Caroline Hattam ( or Dr Stefanie Broszeit ( The survey is part of research being conducted by ICF, PML and IEEP under contract to the European Commission.

Go to survey



The presentations are now available online from the 4th Forum of the Outermost Regions: ''European lands in the world: toward a renewed strategy''. You can view the opening speech by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, the video messages that were presented, as well as several speakers' interventions.

View the presentations here.