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Land–sea interaction

A good and effective maritime spatial plan cannot be prepared without examining the activities between the coastal area and the marine environment.

According to the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive, land–sea interaction must be taken into account when preparing maritime spatial plans.  The directive emphasises the relationship between maritime and coastal activities, as well as the benefits that maritime spatial planning can produce for the coastal economy and ecosystems. A good and effective maritime spatial plan cannot be prepared without examining the activities between the coastal area and the marine environment. The impact of the use of and activities in coastal areas on the sea should be identified in maritime spatial planning, and these should be taken into account in the maritime spatial plan, and vice versa.

The coast is very diverse in terms of ecosystems, and most of the population also lives in coastal areas. Natural phenomena, such as storms, floods and erosion, have a strong impact on coastal areas, as well as having significant impacts on the economy. In Finland, the diversity of the coast is enhanced by a wide transition zone between land and sea, which also includes islands, as well as by continuous isostatic rebound as the result of the Ice Age. 

Land–sea interaction includes, for example, the examination of the nutrient load and eutrophication, the connection of cables or the transmission of energy to the national energy network, and connections between land and sea transport, ports, cities and towns and the recreational use of the coastal area. 

The application of an ecosystem-based approach contributes to the promotion of sustainable economic development and growth in marine and coastal areas, as well as the sustainable use of their natural resources. When integrated into planning decisions, healthy ecosystems in marine areas and their ecosystem services can create significant benefits for food production, recreation and tourism, climate change mitigation and adaptation, the management of coastline changes and the prevention of disasters.

Recommendation concerning the implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Europe

In 2002, the European Parliament and the Council adopted a Recommendation concerning the implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Europe. According to the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive, land–sea interaction can be examined as part of the maritime spatial planning process or by means of a separate coastal area use and management process, the results of which will be exploited when preparing a maritime spatial plan.

The Finnish coastal zone strategy, Sustainable Coasts, was prepared in 2006

The preparation of the Finnish coastal zone strategy is based on the recommendation concerning the integrated management and use of coastal areas. The strategy proposes a comprehensive, strategic and regional approach to coastal activities. The sustainable development of coastal areas is deemed to require long-term planning in which the options for the use of areas and various activities, as well as the natural conditions of the area, can be taken into account in a comprehensive and balanced manner. Preparation for the future development of coastal areas, as well as for extreme circumstances, such as the impacts of climate change, plays a key role. 

The coastal zone strategy includes the ways in which the various authorities can contribute to the sustainable development of the coastal area. In accordance with the recommendation, the strategy presents principles for the use and management of coastal areas that should be followed and promoted in the implementation:

– A broad perspective that takes into account the interdependence and differences between natural systems and human activities affecting coastal areas 

– A long-term perspective that takes into account the preparedness principle and the needs of current and future generations 

– Easily adjustable use and management as a step-by-step process that facilitates adaptation when problems arise and information increases. This requires reliable information about the development of coastal areas. 

– The local characteristics of coastal areas and their significant diversity, which offers opportunities to respond to practical needs through special solutions and flexible measures 

– Operational alignment with natural processes and respect for the carrying capacity of ecosystems, which makes human activities more environmentally friendly, socially responsible and economically sensible over the long term 

– The involvement of all relevant parties in the process concerning use and management

– Support by and participation of the competent administrative bodies at the national, regional and local levels through the establishment or maintenance of appropriate contacts between them to improve the coordination of current policies 

– The combination of tools that have been designed to facilitate coherence between the goals and planning of sector-specific policies, as well as use and management.

Land–sea interaction has been discussed in project work in cooperation with the other Baltic Sea countries, within the Pan Baltic Scope project in 2018 and 2019, for example.

During the vision work phase of the maritime spatial planning process, land–sea interaction was discussed with maritime stakeholders, and in terms of mainland-based activities, such as industry, communities, agriculture and forestry, the direct and indirect impacts on marine areas were made visible (see table).

You can learn more about stakeholders’ views on key sector-specific factors affecting land–sea interaction by studying the sector-specific roadmaps created during the vision work phase.

Table: Impacts of mainland-based activities on marine ecosystems.

Sources

Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning (2014/89/EU) https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32014L0089

Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Europe (2002/413/EC) https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32002H0413

https://www.msp-platform.eu – Land–sea interaction in maritime spatial planning

Hanhijärvi, J. (2006). Sustainable Coasts. The Finnish coastal zone strategy. Suomen ympäristö 5/2006.

Morf, A., (ed.), Cedergren, E., Gee, K., Kull, M., Eliasen, S. (2019). Lessons, stories and ideas on how to integrate land–sea interactions into MSP. Nordregio, Stockholm. www.panbalticscope.eu