Norway (Barents Sea and Lofoten)

Norway (Barents Sea and Lofoten)

Norway Barents Sea

An integrated management plan of the marine environment of the Barents Sea and the Sea Areas off the Lofoten Islands was developed from 2002-2006, and approved by the Norwegian Parliament in 2006. It covers areas of the Norwegian EEZ outside of the baseline (one nm off the coast), and covers about 1.4 million km2 of marine waters, as well as the fishery protection zone around the Svalbard archipelago. It does not include the Russian part of the Barents Sea.

A ministerial-level steering group chaired by the Norwegian Ministry of Environment led the planning process.  The plan addresses all important marine economic sectors including oil and gas development, fisheries, marine transport, and marine conservation—all assessed through 2020. It is one of the few plans anywhere in the world that integrates fisheries management actions with those in other marine sectors. To achieve transparency, all reports and other documents were made available through the Internet, and stakeholders were invited to comment at several steps in the process.

The plan is advisory only and does not provide detail on managing specific human activities; implementation of the plan is the responsibility of the relevant ministries and management bodies that are expected to manage their sectors consistent with the integrated plan. Socio-economic effects of the plan are not assessed; economic impacts on communities, region, and nation should be better assessed in future rounds of planning according to the authors of the plan. However, the management plan for the Barents Sea–Lofoten area is a ground-breaking effort, among the first putting the concept of an integrated, ecosystem-based management regime into practice. The first Barents Sea-Lofoten Islands plan was updated in 2010-11.



Authority:Informal agreement among ministers; 2002 white paper on marine environment ("Protecting the Riches of the Sea") and creation of Inter-ministerial Steering Committee and Expert Group in 2004 charged with developing an integrated management plan
Lead Planning Agency:Norwegian Polar Institute
Financing:Funding exists to fully implement the plan
Size of Planning Area:1,400,000 km² (covers areas outside the baseline -one nm off the coast- as well as fishery protection zone around the Svalbard archipelago)
Time required to complete the plans:2-4 years
Drivers of MSP:Need for a more integrated approach; Perceived conflicts among uses, e.g., marine mining v. fishing; Marine conservation or biodiversity concerns; New and emerging uses of the marine area, e.g., wind energy, aquaculture
Stakeholder participation:Throughout the MSP process
Sectors included in planning:All major sectors including fishing
Relation to coastal management:Weak connection to adjacent coastal management program
Relation to marine protected area management:MPAs planned under a separate process
Plan approval:Approved by the Norwegian Parliament (the Storting) in 2006. Plan implemented.
Legal Status of Plan:Regulatory/Enforceable
Plan revision:Assess on a regular basis; First Barents Sea Integrated Management Plan revised in 2010 and approved by Parliament in March 2011; the plan will be completely revised in 2020
Performance monitoring and evaluation:Monitoring is limited to existing programs that are focused on measuring state-of-the environment (bio-physical), not on performance of management plan


The 2006 Norwegian plan for the Barents Sea-Lofoten area (English)
2010 update of the knowledge base of the Barents Sea compiled by the Institute of Marine Research (Norwegian)
Updated version (2011) of the Barents Sea plan (English)