Maritime spatial planning for the sustainable development and growth of Europe’s maritime areas
Directive 2014/89/EU on establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning
The directive sets down EU countries’ common approach to the planning of maritime areas. This allows each EU country to plan its own maritime activities but this planning process – whether at national, regional or local level – is now more compatible EU-wide thanks to the introduction of a common timeframe and minimum common requirements. The new framework seeks to promote the sustainable:
growth of maritime economies, known as the EU’s Blue Economy;
development of marine areas;
use of marine resources.
Maritime areas face many competing claims on their use and their development such as tourism, fishing and aquaculture, raw material extraction, sea transport routes, marine protected areas, etc.). They also face common challenges such as fragile ecosystems, the impacts of climate change and pollution.
Maritime spatial planning seeks to enable public authorities to organise human activities in marine areas so as to meet various ecological, economic and social objectives.
Maritime spatial plans
The directive requires EU countries to draw up maritime spatial plans no later than 31 March 2021. These should map existing human activities in their marine waters and identify their most effective future spatial development.
The maps must take into account land-sea interactions and environmental, economic, social and safety aspects. EU countries are required to ensure they make use of the best available economic, social and environmental data.
The public and stakeholders (like energy and transport providers, environmental groups, etc.) must be involved in the process.
Cooperation with other EU and non-EU countries
EU countries bordering the same marine waters must also cooperate so as to ensure that maritime spatial plans are coherent and coordinated across the marine region concerned. Where EU countries share a maritime border with a non-EU country, they should seek to cooperate.
With its Europe 2020 strategy, the EU is seeking to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy by 2020. This directive plays an essential role in the EU’s ambition to develop Europe’s Blue Economy.
Directive 2014/89/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning (OJ L 257, 28.8.2014, pp. 135-145)
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Innovation in the Blue Economy: realising the potential of our seas and oceans for jobs and growth (COM(2014)0254 final/2 of 8 May 2014)
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Blue Growth — Opportunities for marine and maritime sustainable growth (COM(2012) 494 final of 13 September 2012)
The EU’s strategy for sustainable marine and maritime growth: Blue Growth
Marine and maritime activities provide work for 5.4 million people in the EU and account for a gross value added (GVA) of just under EUR 500 billion per year. In 2012, the EU presented a long-term strategy to harness the potential of its oceans and seas.
The European Commission’s communication launched the European Union (EU) strategy for the maritime sector. The strategy – known as Blue Growth — is the maritime sector’s contribution to achieving the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It builds upon the Commission’s Integrated Maritime Policy launched in 2007.
The Blue Growth strategy focuses on the potential of marine and maritime sectors (the blue economy) to contribute to sustainable economic recovery in the EU, and in particular to create new jobs and promote innovation and sustainable growth.
Maritime regions and their coasts, because of their unique geographical situation (i.e. looking outwards) have traditionally been centres for new ideas and innovation. However, there are 3 new factors which are likely to further reinforce their potential in this regard:
In the past decade, there has been rapid technological progress (particularly in robotics, video-surveillance and submersible technology) in working offshore in ever-deeper waters.
With population growth, there is ever-increasing pressure on land-based resources to provide food and energy. We need to look at the 71 % of the earth’s surface that is ocean to find more sustainable ways of meeting human needs.
Our seas have an important part to play in helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, by means of offshore renewable energy installations, and in saving energy thanks to transport by sea which is less polluting than land transport.
The strategy identifies 5 sectors that have high potential for jobs and growth. These sectors are aquaculture (fish and shellfish farming), tourism, marine biotechnology, ocean energy and seabed mining. A set of Commission initiatives has been launched to explore and develop the growth potential in these areas.
These include Communications on:
—coastal and maritime tourism,
—ocean energy, as well as
—strategic guidelines on aquaculture.
The strategy highlights the importance of:
—increasing marine knowledge (to develop new products and services);
—improving the management of marine activities — this is vital in order to avoid potential conflict and to create synergies between different activities;
—security (i.e. integrated maritime surveillance) of the EU’s waters to allow maritime authorities to share information on risks and threats.
It also recognises that tailored approaches need to be taken in relation to Europe’s 7 sea basins (Adriatic and Ionian Seas, Arctic Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and North Sea). This ensures that each basin’s individual needs are met and seeks to encourage the countries involved to work together.
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Blue Growth opportunities for marine and maritime sustainable growth (COM(2012) 494 final of 13 September 2012)
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Strategic Guidelines for the Sustainable Development of EU Aquaculture (COM(2013) 229 final of 29 April 2013)
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Blue Energy Action needed to deliver on the potential of ocean energy in European seas and oceans by 2020 and beyond (COM(2014) 8 final of 20 January 2014)
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: A European Strategy for more Growth and Jobs in Coastal and Maritime Tourism (COM(2014) 86 final of 20 February 2014)
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Innovation in the Blue Economy: realising the potential of our seas and oceans for jobs and growth (COM(2014) 254 final/2 of 8 May 2014)
Commission staff working document — Marine Knowledge 2020: roadmap Accompanying the document Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Innovation in the Blue Economy realising the potential of our seas and oceans for jobs and growth (SWD(2014) 149 final of 8 May 2014)
Sustainable management of external fishing fleets
Regulation (EU) 2017/2403 — sustainable management of external fishing fleets
It strengthens controls on fishing activities, mostly through authorisations for EU vessels fishing outside EU waters.
It implements some of the EU flag state authorisations, derived from EU bilateral fisheries agreements and regional fisheries management organisations.
It also reinforces the objectives of the common fisheries policy with regard to sustainable fisheries, control and EU rules on tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
An EU vessel fishing outside EU waters requires an authorisation by the EU country in which it is registered (‘flag state’). This authorisation is based on a set of common eligibility criteria including:
administrative information on the vessel, its owner and the master;
a unique vessel identification number from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) where this is required by EU law;
valid fishing licence;
proof that the vessel is not included in an illegal fishing (IUU) vessel list adopted by a regional fisheries management organisation and/or by the EU.
Throughout the period of validity, the flag state concerned must regularly monitor whether the vessel is continuing to meet the conditions of the authorisation.
It must ensure that the activities are carried out in waters of a foreign Coastal State with the authorisation of that Coastal State, and after a scientific evaluation has been carried out and validated, verifying the sustainability of the fishing operations.
The EU vessels should fish on the surplus determined by the foreign Coastal State, or for migratory species, respect the rules set for these species at regional level.
A vessel that has left the EU register to be re-registered in a non-EU country during the 5 years prior to the application for an authorisation — and that has subsequently returned to the EU register — would only receive the authorisation if the EU country concerned has checked that the vessel neither engaged in IUU activities, nor operated in either a non-cooperating country or a third country identified as allowing non-sustainable fishing.
An EU electronic fishing authorisation register will be set up with a part of it being accessible to the public. The public part will contain information on the name of the vessel, IMO number, target species and fishing zone.
The EU currently has a database in which all fishing vessels flying the flag of an EU country, and registered in an EU territory, must be registered.
From when does the regulation apply?
It has applied since 17 January 2018.
Regulation (EU) 2017/2403 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2017 on the sustainable management of external fishing fleets, and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1006/2008 (OJ L 347, 28.12.2017, pp. 81-104)
Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy amending Council Regulations (EC) No 1954/2003 and (EC) No 1224/2009 and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No 2371/2002 and (EC) No 639/2004 and Council Decision 2004/585/EC (OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, pp. 22-61)
Regulation (EU) No 1026/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on certain measures for the purpose of the conservation of fish stocks in relation to countries allowing non-sustainable fishing (OJ L 316, 14.11.2012, pp. 34-37)
Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 of 20 November 2009 establishing a Union control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy, amending Regulations (EC) No 847/96, (EC) No 2371/2002, (EC) No 811/2004, (EC) No 768/2005, (EC) No 2115/2005, (EC) No 2166/2005, (EC) No 388/2006, (EC) No 509/2007, (EC) No 676/2007, (EC) No 1098/2007, (EC) No 1300/2008, (EC) No 1342/2008 and repealing Regulations (EEC) No 2847/93, (EC) No 1627/94 and (EC) No 1966/2006 (OJ L 343, 22.12.2009, pp. 1-50)
Transposition of NAFO conservation and enforcement measures (CEMs) to the EU law
Regulation (EU) 2019/833 — laying down conservation and enforcement measures applicable in the Regulatory Area of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation
It sets out in EU law the rules for applying conservation and enforcement measures (CEMs) adopted by the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO) in order to ensure that they are implemented effectively and in the same throughout the EU.
It repeals Regulation (EC) No 2115/2005 and Regulation (EC) No 1386/2007.
It amends Regulation (EU) 2016/1627 on the multiannual recovery plan for bluefin tuna.
The regulation applies to:
EU fishing vessels used or intended for use for commercial fishing activities conducted in the NAFO regulatory area (RA)*;
activities by non-EU vessels under the Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries in EU waters or territory.
Under the Vessel Monitoring System, each fishing vessel operating in the RA must be equipped with a satellite-monitoring device capable of continuous automatic transmission of position to its land-based fishing monitoring centre, at least once an hour.
Each fishing vessel shall must have a fishing logbook, a production logbook and a stowage plan to record fishing activities in the RA.
Conservation and management
Not less than 10 days prior to the start of a fishery research period, EU countries must inform the European Commission of all the research vessels flying its flag that are authorised to conduct research activities in the RA.
EU countries must immediately notify the Commission of the end of research activities by any fishing vessel temporarily engaged in research.
The removal of shark fins on board vessels and retaining on board, transhipping* or landing shark fins fully detached from a carcass is prohibited.
Vessels fishing in the RA must have equipment on board to retrieve lost gear, make every reasonable effort to retrieve lost gear as soon as possible and not deliberately abandon fishing gear, except for safety reasons.
Protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems
Exploratory bottom-fishing activities are only allowed if they follow the conservation and management measures adopted by the NAFO Commission to prevent significant adverse impacts of the exploratory fishing activities on vulnerable marine ecosystems.
A scientific observer must be on board for the duration of the exploratory bottom-fishing activity.
Each fishing vessel must carry at least one observer at all times whilst fishing in the Regulatory Area.
Fishing must not start until the observer is present on the vessel.
Observers must be independent and impartial, and have the training, knowledge, skills and abilities to perform all of the specified duties, functions and requirements.
Joint inspection and surveillance scheme
The European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) coordinates inspection and surveillance activities for the EU.
It may set up joint operational inspection and surveillance programmes with the EU country concerned.
Inspection and surveillance is carried out by inspectors assigned by the EU and notified to EFCA through the joint programmes.
It has applied since 17 June 2019.
Article 53, amending Regulation (EU) 2016/1627, has applied since 21 June 2019.
NAFO regulatory area: an area to which the Convention applies but which is outside national jurisdiction.
Transhipment: the unloading of all or any fishery products on board a fishing vessel to another fishing vessel.
Regulation (EU) 2019/833 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2019 laying down conservation and enforcement measures applicable in the Regulatory Area of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation, amending Regulation (EU) 2016/1627 and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No 2115/2005 and (EC) No 1386/2007 (OJ L 141, 28.5.2019, pp. 1-41)
Regulation (EU) 2016/1627 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 September 2016 on a multiannual recovery plan for bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 302/2009 (OJ L 252, 16.9.2016, pp. 1-52)
Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) 2016/1627 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Council Decision 2010/717/EU of 8 November 2010 on the approval, on behalf of the European Union, of the Amendment to the Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries (OJ L 321, 7.12.2010, pp. 1-19)
Convention on future Multilateral Cooperation in the North-West Atlantic fisheries (OJ L 378, 30.12.1978, pp. 2-29)
Council Regulation (EEC) No 3179/78 of 28 December 1978 concerning the conclusion by the European Economic Community of the Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries (OJ L 378, 30.12.1978, p. 1)
Fishing opportunities in EU and non-EU waters (2020)
Regulation (EU) 2020/123 fixing for 2020 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks, applicable in Union waters and, for Union fishing vessels, in certain non-Union waters They apply from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020 with some minor exceptions.
Regulation (EU) 2019/2236 fixing for 2020 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks applicable in the Mediterranean and Black Seas
Regulation (EU) 2019/1838 fixing for 2020 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks applicable in the Baltic Sea and amending Regulation (EU) 2019/124 as regards certain fishing opportunities in other waters
The regulations set yearly total allowable catches (TACs)* and quotas* by fish stocks, as well as fishing effort levels in the different fishing areas in line with the objectives of the EU’s common fisheries policy — environmental and socioeconomic sustainability — to the benefit of the fish stocks, fishing sector and EU citizens.
The regulations apply to EU fishing vessels and non-EU vessels in EU waters and some recreational fisheries*.
Regulation (EU) 2020/123 sets 2020 catch limits for the main commercial fish stocks in the Atlantic, the North Sea and some other international fisheries in which EU vessels participate. The limits generally apply for the 2020 calendar year, but some extend into 2021 or apply for slightly different periods. The regulation includes rules on:
TACs and allocations among EU countries;
Conditions for landing catches and by-catches, including which species may be retained on board or landed, aiming to continue to reduce unwanted catches through the landing obligation (i.e. the prohibition to discard certain stocks at sea) for all stocks under catch limit;
Quota-exchange mechanism for TACs for unavoidable by-catches*;
Slightly increased by-catch levels for seabass in the Northern areas and additional flexibility in their management;
Measures on European eel fisheries in EU waters;
Special provisions on allocations of fishing opportunities to EU countries, such as exchanges and quota transfers;
Remedial measures for cod and whiting in the Celtic Sea, North Sea and Kattegat, with the aim of improving the selectivity of fishing gears and reducing by-catches;
Closed fishing seasons;
Sharks: retaining on board, transshipping* or landing is generally prohibited, and if caught accidentally must be promptly released.
The regulation also covers
Fishing authorisations in non-EU waters;
Fishing opportunities for non-EU vessels in EU waters.
Regulation (EU) 2019/2236 fixes for 2020 the fishing opportunities in the Mediterranean and Black Seas for the following fish stocks.The rules include:
A fishing effort regime in the Western Mediterranean applying to Spain, France and Italy;
A closure period for European eel in the entire Mediterranean Sea;
Catch and effort limits for small pelagic stocks and an effort limit for demersal stocks in the Adriatic Sea;
An autonomous quota for sprat in the Black Sea applying to Bulgaria and Romania;
A TAC for turbot in the Black Sea, as well as closure periods and a fishing effort regime.
Regulation (EU) 2019/1838 fixes fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks in the Baltic Sea for 2020 and amends some fishing opportunities in other waters fixed by Regulation (EU) 2019/124. It covers:
TACs and national quotas for the ten most commercially important fish stocks in the Baltic Sea and how much European fishermen will be able to fish and under what conditions;
Decreased fishing opportunities for the majority of fish stocks;
Moderately increased TACs only for herring in the Gulf of Riga;
TACs maintained for salmon in the Gulf of Finland;
particularly significant cuts for cod, with a 60% decrease in the Western part of the Baltic Sea, and a TAC for by-catches only in the Eastern part;
Additional remedial measures on cod stocks, including stricter limits for recreational fisheries (normally a bag limit of five specimens per fisherman per day) and longer closure periods in some geographical subdivisions.
Total allowable catch (TAC): the quantity of each type of fish that can be caught over the period of a year.
Quota: a proportion of the TAC allocated to the EU, an EU country or a non-EU country.
Recreational fisheries: non-commercial fishing activities exploiting marine biological resources such as for recreation, tourism or sport.
By-catch: unwanted fish and marine species caught unintentionally.
Transshipment: the transfer of a catch from a smaller fishing boat to a larger one which then incorporates it into a larger batch for shipment.
Council Regulation (EU) 2020/123 of 27 January 2020 fixing for 2020 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks, applicable in Union waters and, for Union fishing vessels, in certain non-Union waters (OJ L 25, 30.1.2020, pp. 1-156)
Successive amendments to Regulation (EU) 2020/123 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Council Regulation (EU) 2019/2236 of 16 December 2019 fixing for 2020 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks applicable in the Mediterranean and Black Seas (OJ L 336, 30.12.2019, pp. 14-25)
Council Regulation (EU) 2019/1838 of 30 October 2019 fixing for 2020 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks applicable in the Baltic Sea and amending Regulation (EU) 2019/124 as regards certain fishing opportunities in other waters (OJ L 281, 31.10.2019, pp. 1-14)
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the State of Play of the Common Fisheries Policy and Consultation on the Fishing Opportunities for 2020 (COM(2019) 274 final, 7.6.2019)
Council Regulation (EU) 2019/124 of 30 January 2019 fixing for 2019 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks, applicable in Union waters and, for Union fishing vessels, in certain non-Union waters (OJ L 29, 31.1.2019, pp. 1-166)