Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP)

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Marine (or maritime) 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 have been specified through a political process.


Competition for maritime space – for renewable energy equipment, aquaculture and other uses – has highlighted the need to manage our waters more coherently. Maritime spatial planning (MSP) works across borders and sectors to ensure human activities at sea take place in an efficient, safe and sustainable way. That is why the European Parliament and the Council have adopted legislation to create a common framework for maritime spatial planning in Europe.

According to the European Union Maritime Spatial Planning Directive (2014/89/EU), underwater cultural heritage (UCH) is one possible activity, use and interest in planning of maritime space.

For glossaries of maritime spatial planning, see for example: UNESCO MSP glossary or the European MSP Platform