Marine Spatial Planning

All coastal Member States of the Europe Union have prepared  national maritime spatial plans under the Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) Directive.  Ireland’s Marine Spatial Plan is called the National Marine Planning Framework (NMPF) and was formally launched by An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin TD and fellow Ministers on the 1st of July 2021. This framework, which will apply to a maritime area of approximately 495,000km², outlines a vision for how we want to use, protect and enjoy our seas in the years up to 2040.

The NMPF contains a vision, objectives and planning policies for all marine-based human activities. It outlines how those activities will interact with each other in an increasingly pressured ocean space. It is the key decision-making tool for Government departments, State agencies, regulatory authorities and policy makers for decisions on marine activities up to 2040. Decisions will include planning applications as well as policies, projects and strategies.

The competent authority for MSP in Ireland is the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) and the Marine Institute is providing technical and scientific advice to support the process.  Further details on the journey to the NMPF can be found here.

Through the Blue Growth and MSP Scheme of the European Maritime Fisheries Fund 2016-2021, we have implemented a series of projects to support MSP in Ireland. These cover areas such data collation and management, socio-economic study of seaweed harvesting, defining and classifying Ireland’s Seascape. Further details about each project can be found at:

Ireland’s Marine Atlas provides up-to-date spatial data to support for the NMPF. It contains information of the marine environment and its ecosystems as well as the location of various human activities.