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Maritime Spatial Planning Legislation Now in Force

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EU - A new European Directive to support Member States in their coordination of various activities that compete for space at sea is now in effect.

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Since many activities at sea – from fishing grounds, aquaculture farms and marine protected areas to maritime infrastructure such as wind farms, cables and shipping lanes - run across national borders, the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive will help Member States co-operate better, involve stakeholders in the process and avoid potential conflicts between the diverse uses of sea space.

EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki welcomed the entry into force: “1.6 million jobs can be created in Europe’s maritime economy by 2020. For this to happen, investors need a predictable environment, also at sea. The Directive does not only help Member States to avoid conflicts when they plan activities at sea, it will also ensure that we consider the impact of those maritime activities on the environment. This is not a small achievement: the EU has created the first legislation worldwide that makes maritime spatial planning compulsory and which requires cooperation between countries at their borders.”

Member States will now have to transpose the Directive into their national legislation by 2016 and nominate the Competent Authority in charge of the implementation of Maritime Spatial Planning. By 2021, all maritime spatial plans for national waters should be in place.

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