UT researchers looking for possibilities for sustainable growth of maritime economy in the Gulf of Finland and the Archipelago Sea

Within the Estonian-Finnish joint project Plan4Blue “Maritime Spatial Planning for Sustainable Blue Economies”, UT researchers are studying the possibilities for planning and developing marine and maritime economies in the era of high and rapidly increasing demand for maritime space.

According to Robert Aps, head of the Department of Marine Systems of the UT Estonian Marine Institute, collaboration between Estonian and Finnish scientists and authorities is an important premise for finding environmentally sound cross-border solutions for the spatial planning of the Gulf of Finland and the Archipelago Sea. “Our activities in this project rely completely on the cooperation between the two countries’ authorities, scientists and stakeholders,” said Aps.

The project is meant to support and bridge the maritime spatial planning processes of Estonia and Finland. Pursuant to the directive of the Parliament and Council of Europe, member states have to establish and implement their maritime spatial planning by the year 2020. The aim is to support the achievement of the objectives of the Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union.

Plan4Blue was launched in October 2016 and in the course of the project, the current situation of the maritime space of the Gulf of Finland and the Archipelago Sea and the maritime economy of the coastal areas will be analysed. The results allow to assess the economic potential of different sectors for regional development. As an innovative approach, the environmental dimension of planning is associated with the economic and social aspects of important ecosystem services, stipulating the achievement of the good environmental status of the sea as a requirement.

The project Plan4Blue is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (The Central Baltic Programme 2014-2020) and the Environmental Investment Centre from October 2016 to December 2019. Project participants are NGO Baltic Environmental Forum, University of Tartu (Estonian Marine Institute and School of Economics), Finnish Environment Institute, University of Turku, and the regional councils of Helsinki-Uusimaa and Southwest Finland.  The Ministry of Finance of Estonia and the county governments of Harju, Ida-Viru and Lääne-Viru participate as associated partners.

Additional information: Robert Aps, head of the Department of Marine Systems, UT Estonian Marine Institute, 506 2597, robert.aps@ut.ee

Viivika Eljand-Kärp
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