For the Gulf of Bothnia, the Baltic Sea and
Sweden produces three marine spatial plans – one for the Gulf of Bothnia, one for the Baltic Sea and one for the Skagerrak/Kattegat. A marine spatial plan provides guidance about what the best uses of the sea are. Marine spatial
plans guide national authorities, municipalities and the courts in future decisions, planning, and licensing examinations. Traders can also obtain guidance from the plan.
Marine spatial plans are intended to contribute to long-term sustainable development. They are intended to reconcile business policy objectives, social objectives and environmental objectives. Marine spatial plans contain guidance on most appropriate use. The use or uses specified for one area take precedence over other uses. In large parts of the sea, different uses can coexist if they adapt to each other. Marine spatial plans provide guidance on which use or uses take precedence and what adaptation
Marine spatial plans specify thirteen uses:
- electricity transmission
- energy extraction
- investigation area for energy extraction
- general use
- sand extraction
- investigation area for sand extraction
- possible shipping
- commercial fishing.
Marine spatial plans also specify areas where particular consideration has to be paid to high nature values, high cultural landscape values, or to the interests of Sweden’s total defence.
Proposals for uses are based on tradeoffs and appropriateness assessments considering location, characteristics and needs. National interests and other
public interests are important when making tradeoffs.
The consequences of marine spatial plans are assessed from ecological, economic and social perspectives. Assessments of consequences are carried out in parallel with and as an integral part of planning. Consequences are additionally
analysed in a separate environmental impact assessment and a separate sustainability assessment.
Marine spatial planning is based on laws, regulations, societal goals, reports of different kinds, and not least on the extensive dialogue that the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management has held with affected stakeholders.