Maritime spatial planning
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Numerous national governments and supranational organizations such as the OSPAR Commission, the European Union and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have underlined the importance of maritime spatial planning (MSP) for balancing and solving conflicts between the needs of different sectors and conservation in the marine space. In the last decade, many maritime spatial plans have been developed around the world. The drivers to develop these plans and the approaches to find solutions for the particular problems differ significantly. The Portuguese national marine jurisdiction is one of the largest in Europe. For the continental part, a maritime spatial plan was initiated in 2009, and entered in 2010 in the final stage of approval. One of the driving forces for this MSP initiative was the claim to extend its continental shelf. The development process was led by a multidisciplinary team. Despite the challenges, the existing as well as potential future marine resources and activities were characterized, mapped and categorized. To overcome conflicts resulting from the many overlapping uses and to assure sustainable development of all sectors, a conflict analysis and evaluation of potential future uses were necessary. The applied zoning scheme represented an exercise of conflict solving and proved to be a powerful tool to promote discussion and participation among stakeholders. The successful implementation of Portuguese MSP will rely largely on its ability to provide efficient management, financial and legal mechanisms to achieve the integration of all strategies and spaces under the Portuguese maritime jurisdiction.