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PLAN BOTHNIA - Preparatory Action on Maritime

The PLAN BOTHNIA project aims to initiate, test and evaluate the added value of a cross-sectoral, transboundary and ecosystem based Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) in the Bothnian Sea, a part of the Baltic Sea between Finland and Sweden. The area covers waters south of the Quark and north of the Åland islands. The assessment plan includes various corss-sectoral interests like maritime traffic, energy, fisheries, natural protection, and socio-economic aspects.

In the wider Europe, the dramatic increase of large-scale offshore wind power developments, volumes of shipping and other uses of the seas, have raised interest in planning spatial allocations in a more coherent manner. Presently little national coordination of such activities is presently carried out and the issues are mainly solved on a case by case basis. This interest in maritime spatial planning (MSP), is a part of wider aims toward more integrated management of marine areas, including their natural environment.

In the EU the recent EU Integrated Maritime Policy has secured political support for such aims and the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive adopted in 2008 provides a legal basis for a more integrated management of the European marine environment. In more technical terms PLAN BOTHNIA is a "preparatory action" to support policy development for EU. The project is co-ordinated by the HELCOM Secretariat.