Coastal and Maritime Spatial Planning in Pärnu Bay Area in Estonia and Coastal Municipalities of Latvia


Sea space, including the Baltic Sea, is a limited resource. Conflicts arise on marine areas because of a large number of users of this limited resource with competing interests. Maritime spatial planning is a tool that helps solve conflicts on marine areas, integrate different sector-based interests and co-ordinate spatial use of the sea. The use and impact of the sea does not end on the shore line. Coastal areas are interdependent with the sea in both human use and nature conditions. Many human activities on marine areas are functionally linked to the shore. For example, off shore wind parks and connection to the terrestrial electricity grid. In order to ensure the functional linkage between marine and terrestrial areas, minimize coastal erosion and its effects and ensure nature conservation and overall coastal development, spatial planning of marine and terrestrial parts of the coastal areas can be used.

The VASAB (Visions and Strategies Around the Baltic Sea) Long-Term Perspective for the Territorial Development of the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) states that protecting the Baltic Sea environment and securing sustainable use of the sea resources requires integrated planning and management actions by all BSR countries and relevant sectors of economy. It requires a pan-Baltic approach, based on a clear vision, goals and principles for planning and management of the sea space. In June 2011, the Baltic ministers responsible for regional development in the Baltic States put together an expert group in spatial planning. One of the main subjects of this expert group is maritime spatial planning in the Baltic Sea. A co-ordinated and cross-border process for maritime and coastal spatial planning is the best tool to further the idea of the Baltic Sea space with its coastline as a shared interest between Estonia and Latvia.


The objective of the project is to carry out pilot projects for resolving conflicts between different sector-based activities and plan the future use of sea space in Pärnu Bay area and develop Latvian coastal areas towards better accessibility, sustainable usage of terrestrial and marine resources and mitigation of climate changes.


  1. Preparation of a maritime spatial plan and a strategic environmental assessment in Pärnu Bay area in Estonia.
  2. Preparation of a maritime spatial planning methodology.
  3. Methodology on functional linkage between marine and coastal territories.
  4. Guidelines for minimization of coastal erosion impacts in Latvia.
  5. Management plans for the Natura 2000 areas in Latvia.
  6. Piloting in Pāvilosta, Roja and Engure municipalities.

The project financed by the Estonia-Latvia Programme and consists of six partners.

Duration: 36 months (July 2012 – June 2015)
Overall budget: EUR 518 071,  ERDF support is EUR 430 000