Marine spatial planning is a public process of analysing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic, and social objectives that usually have been specified through a political process. Characteristics of marine spatial planning include ecosystem-based, area-based, integrated, adaptive, strategic and participatory.
Marine spatial planning is not an end in itself, but a practical way to create and establish a more rational use of marine space and the interactions among its uses, to balance demands for development with the need to protect the environment, and to deliver social and economic outcomes in an open and planned way. (IOC-UNESCO Marine Spatial Planning Programme).
In the European Union, MSP is legislated for through the Marine Spatial Planning Directive. In Northern Ireland, the Directive is given effect through the Marine and Coastal Access Act (Offshore MSP) and the Marine Act (Inshore MSP). In the UK, the framework for developing marine plans is the Marine Policy Statement.
Marine Spatial Plans must be adopted in EU member states by 2021. Northern Ireland has recently published it’s draft marine plan which was publicly consulted on (for the NIMTF consultation response click here).
Draft Marine Plan for Northern Ireland