In response to the large economic potential of the maritime sector, the often fragmented management of the marine space and the increasing conflicts between the marine uses and the needs of nature, maritime spatial planning is increasingly used as a tool for the implementation of an integrated maritime policy. However, effective maritime spatial planning does not only mean the extension of the terrestrial planning concepts to the sea. The special characteristics of the sea and the sensitivity of the marine ecosystems have to be taken into account. One of the key challenges in that context is the implementation of the ecosystem approach. The ecosystem approach is a complex management approach and its implementation thus requires a comprehensive understanding of the marine environment.
Within the project, an analysis of literature on the legal aspects of the integration of the nature conservation concerns into the maritime spatial planning will carried out. Furthermore, a handout on the regulatory options of the Spatial Planning Law and on the information that is necessary to translate scientific findings into spatial planning measures will be prepared. After that, information on endangered and representative species and biotopes will be gathered. The information will constitute the basis for a sensitivity analysis. Recommendations will then be derived from the identified needs of marine mammals, birds and benthic species to optimize spatial plans, for example by the establishment of the priority or restricted areas.