Assessing spatial impacts of Land and Sea Interactions

 In a speech to the European Parliament in 2011, EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki, said ‘Governments are waking up to the fact that we have just about reached the limit of what can be squeezed from the 29% of the planet that is land. Therefore, it becomes clear that we need to look even more to the sea.

These developments are reflected in the 2014 Maritime Spatial Planning Directive, which requires European coastal states to establish complete coverage of maritime spatial plans by 2021, taking into account LSI in order to promote sustainable and integrated development and management of human activities at sea.

In an effort to operationalize the Land and Sea Interactions (LSI) concept for the Maritime Spatial Planning community, the ESPON MSP-LSI project developed a new approach for assessing landward impacts of key maritime sectors. This approach was tested in 5 case studies in Slovenia (Piran Bay), the Gulf of Gdansk, the Croatian Coast and Islands, The Pomeranian Bight and the Netherlands.

The analytical framework that the project developed can be used to draw out the spatial footprint of selected sectors and the spatial connections between different value chain segments, both on land and in the sea.

According to this framework, four key steps are followed to explore LSI for the purposes of Maritime Spatial Planning:

  1. LSI Scoping: It is an important first step that could involve an initial discussion with relevant stakeholders about the nature of LSI and the definition of coastal area/core area in order to identify focal Land-Sea Interactions for further examination.
  2. Value Chain Analysis: This step involves mapping of key actors in each segment of the value chain and building up of a picture of that segment’s spatial footprint, the spatial connectivity between different segments and the relative ‘stickability’ of economic and other benefits within coastal communities. From this, key Land-Sea Interaction issues can be distilled and areas, where action may be beneficial, can be identified. To facilitate this process, the ESPON MSP-LSI project developed a spatialized approach for considering Land-Sea Interactions associated with maritime sectors, based upon established value chains used by the World Trade Organisation and DG Mare.
  3. Governance Analysis: Analysing governance is another way to identify areas where action may be beneficial but also who has the responsibility to initiate this action. Governance analysis begins with an overview of the general governance context including that related to selected focal sectors.  Then a review of spatial planning arrangements on land and sea and the relationships between them follows to allow a more detailed examination of the treatment of focal Land-Sea Interaction sectoral issues in terrestrial and maritime plans and strategies.
  1. Recommendations for Good Management of LSI: When all the above steps are concluded, findings from the different aspects of investigations can be brought together to draw out key messages and develop recommendations for good management of Land-Sea Interactions.