The project

The PLAN BOTHNIA project, co-ordinated by the HELCOM Secretariat, has tested transboundary Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP, see below for definition) in the Baltic Sea. The project used the Bothnian Sea area between Sweden and Finland as a case study of Baltic transboundary MSP.

The project was a Baltic Sea MSP “preparatory action” funded by EU Commission DG MARE (budget 0,5 M EUR ) under the EU Integrated Maritime Policy, and run 18 months between 2. December 2010 and 1. June 2012.

The project held five meetings with partners and invited participants focusing on different steps needed to reach the final goal- the pilot plan for the Bothnian Sea. In addition,the project organised two mid-project dissemination events open to all  (late September 2011 and spring 2012) as well as final seminars (22.&23. May 2012).

Partners and project participants

The Lead Partner of this project was regional Baltic Sea Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) Secretariat. Overall project coordination was the task of Mr. Hermanni Backer (application phase and Dec. 2010-March 2012 ) and Mr. Manuel Frias (March 2012-May 2012).

In addition, six partners ensured the successful implementation of this initiative:

  • Swedish Board of Fisheries (SWE) (on 1. July 2011 Fiskeriverket was dissolved and the unit involved in Plan Bothnia was transferred to the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences -SLU)
  • Finnish Environment Institute (FIN)
  • Centre for Maritime Studies (FIN)
  • Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning (SWE)
  • VASAB 2010 (International)
  • Nordregio (International)

We were in total more than 60 people involved:

Project partner team: Hermanni Backer & Manuel Frias (Lead partner Helcom Secretariat), Talis Linkaits, Dzintra Upmace, Baiba Redere (Vasab Secretariat), Johanna Roto, Christian Fredricsson & Anita Kullen (Nordregio), Sari Repka, Mirja Rasi & Annukka Pekkarinen (Turku university, Centre for Maritime Studies, Pori Unit), Pål Karlsson & Mark Mostert (Swedish Board of Housing, Building and Planning), Pasi Laihonen, Minna Ronkainen and Marco Nurmi (Finnish Environment Institute-SYKE), Ulf Bergström, Ronny Fredriksson & Sofia Johansson (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences-until 1.7.2011 Swedish Board of Fisheries).

Project participant team (participants but not formal partners): Tiina Tihlman, Nunu Pesu and Maaret Stenström (Ministry of the Environment, Finland), Sten Jerdenius (Ministry of the Environment, Sweden), Jorid Hammersland and Cecilia Lindblad (Naturvårdsverket), Jan Ekebom and Staffan Ekwall (DG MARE, Unit E1 – Maritime Policy), Sirkka Lehto and Anne Savola (Regional Council of Satakunta), Timo Juvonen, Heidi Saaristo and Heikki Saarento (Regional Council of South-West Finland), Johnny Berglund (County Administrative Board Västerbotten), Hans-Göran Lax, Jens Perus and Vincent Westberg (ELY Centre Österbotten), Anna-Leena Seppälä and Tapio Suominen (ELY Centre Southwest Finland), Anders Elhammer and Lovisa Zillén Snowball (Geological Survey of Sweden), Erik Törnblom, Roger Björk and Eva Bergdahl (County Administrative Board Uppsala), Magnus Hovberg and Björn Andreasson (Swedish Maritime Administration), Berit Pettersson, Daniel Matsson, Jan Schmidtbauer Crona and Joacim Johannesson (Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management) Ann Holm and Jan Wikström (Regional Council of Ostrobotnia), Nina Loberg, (County Administrative Board Västernorrland), Henry Vallius (Geological Survey of Finland), Esa Sirkiä (Finnish Traffic Agency), Heidi Arponen (Metsähallitus).

All the participants provided their part of background material on relevant human activities and natural features as well as draft material for plans for the Bothnian Sea region. This material was considered in the five dedicated transboundary planning meetings, organised by the project, where Bothnian Sea area regional, and Swedish and Finnish national, authorities had a transboundary dialogue on Bothnian Sea MSP planning.

The project participated in a regional MSP dialogue through the newly established joint HELCOM-VASAB Baltic Sea MSP group. Implementation was guided by consultation with the Ministries responsible for spatial planning in both Sweden (contact Mr. Sten Jerdenius) and Finland (Ms. Tiina Tihlman). The project kept close contact with this MSP group and with the other EU DG MARE preparatory action MASPNOSE -running parallel in the North Sea.

The PLAN BOTHNIA project coordinating staff  (lead team), keeping it all together, consisted of Project Manager Hermanni Backer and Project Officer Manuel Frías. Manuel acted as Project Manager from March 2012 until May 2012 since Hermanni was appointed as HELCOM Professional Secretary in March 2012.


You can still contact us at: PlanBothniaEMail

Bothnian Sea – the Plan Bothnia MSP project focus area:

What is Maritime Spatial Planning?

According to the UNESCO initiative on Maritime Spatial Planning MSP is:

“a public process of analyzing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic, and social objectives that usually have been specified through a political process. Characteristics of  marine spatial planning include ecosystem-based, area-based, integrated, adaptive, strategic and participatory”.

The UNESCO initiative on MSP website has a list of completed MSP projects around the world. Besides this list we would like to recommend to have a look at the European initiatives below. All of these, with the exception of MASPNOSE, are substantially larger projects than PLAN BOTHNIA both in terms of number of partners and size of budgets:

  • MASPNOSE: Preparatory Action on Maritime Spatial Planning in the North Sea (a “sister project” to PLAN BOTHNIA running Dec 2010-June 2012).
  • BaltSeaPlan: A Baltic Sea Region INTERREG IVB project (2009-2012) on MSP in the Baltic Sea lead by the German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH).
  • A Flood of Space: Take a look at this as one example of a nice MSP report -about MSP on the Belgian seas produced by the finalised GAUFRE project (link to a 16Mb pdf file -rather slow to load).
  • MESMA: An EU-FP7 project on monitoring and evaluation of spatially managed marine areas (2009-2013).
  • KnowSeas: An EU-FP7 project, the Knowledge-based Sustainable Management for Europe’s Seas (KnowSeas) will run 2009-2013
  • ODEMM: An EU-FP7 project, Options for Delivering Ecosystem-based Marine Management (ODEMM) will run 2010-2013.
  • SeaEnergy 2020: An integrated EU Maritime Policy initiative (2010-2012) on spatial planning for offshore renewable energies and electricity grid insfrastructures in Europe.
  • CoExist: An EU-FP7 project which will evaluate competing activities and interactions in European coastal areas (2010-2013).
  • SeaGIS: a project about MSP in Kvarken (Northern Bothnian Sea).

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