Marine Spatial Planning is a process of looking at how multiple users use the marine area and planning how best to use it into the future. A Marine Spatial Plan (MSP) tries to coordinate the different demands for using the sea as well as the need to protect the marine environment. It's about planning when and where human activities should take place at sea. A very thorough set of guidelines and advice is available online from UNESCO Here.
Ireland is in the process of creating an MSP in the form of the National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF). This will be a 20-year plan on how Ireland’s marine area (both inshore and off shore) is to be used. It is being created by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.
EU Directive 2014/89/EU established a framework for maritime spatial planning in 2014. All EU member states must create an MSP by March 2021.
The Baseline Report for the NMPF was launched by a presentation in Cork City on Oct 19, 2018. Members of the Kelp Campaign attended this presentation and the discussion between the Campaign and the government officials was continued in Bantry during the following month (upon the request of the Kelp Campaign). Members of the public throughout Ireland were invited to submit their comments and concerns relating to this Baseline report by Dec 16, 2018. The Kelp Campaign sent in a submission outlining our concerns (see our submission Here). Many individual Campaign members entered their own private submissions as well.
A full draft plan of the NMPF is due for publication in July 2019 with a further consultation process running until the end of 2019. A final plan will be prepared in 2020 and will be submitted to Government for approval (along with supporting environmental assessments) before being forwarded to the European Commission. Click Here for more information.
The Kelp Campaign submitted a response to the Baseline Report of the NMPF in December, 2018.