Norway (Norwegian Sea)

Norway (Norwegian Sea)

An integrated ecosystem-based management plan for the Norwegian Sea was developed from 2007-2009, modelled after the Barents Sea plan, and approved by the Parliament in May 2009.  The plan covers almost 1.2 million km2.  It intends to create value to the Norwegian economy and maintain the high environmental value of the area.

The plan continues the process of identifying geographically defined areas within the Norwegian Sea that contain particularly valuable environmental assets that was introduced in the management plan for the Barents Sea.  The main criteria for selecting the areas were that the area was important for biodiversity or for biological production.  Secondary criteria were economic importance, social and cultural importance, and scientific value.  Eleven particularly valuable areas were identified and their vulnerability assessed.  The need to maintain ecological goods and services in these areas determined the choice of spatial management actions.

A key purpose of the management plan is to facilitate the coexistence of different industries in the management plan area. Direct conflicts of interests can arise between competing uses of the same area, for example by the fishing industry and the oil and gas industry. Future developments, such as using parts of the Norwegian Sea for wind power production, are included in a chapter on possible conflicts of interests. The plan also gives an account of the processes that are under way to reduce conflicts of interest. The Government will require that commercial activities in the Norwegian Sea are planned and conducted in ways that reduce conflicts of interests to a minimum.

Norway Norweigan Sea

In 2007 governmental experts prepared five reports that provided a common factual basis for assessments. The reports included environment and natural resources, petroleum activities, fisheries activities, maritime transport, and commercial and social conditions in counties bordering the Norwegian Sea. Using these reports as a basis, impact assessments were conducted for fisheries, petroleum activities, and marine transport—the human activities most likely to affect the state of the environment, the natural resource base, and the possibility of engaging in other commercial activities in the Norwegian Sea. In addition, the impacts of external pressures such as long-range trans-boundary pollution, climate change, and invasive species were assessed. The cumulative effects were assessed for 2006 baseline conditions and for scenarios for projected levels of activity in different sectors in 2025 (and 2080 for climate change). The greatest cumulative effects in the Norwegian Sea today are on certain fish species, seabird species, and seabed habitats. The human activity that currently puts most pressure on the Norwegian Sea during normal activities is the fisheries.

The plan lays out specific management actions, including spatial actions, for the petroleum industry, fishing, marine transport, and nature conservation. Monitoring is discussed extensively, but only in the context of measuring trends in environmental quality, not the actual performance of management actions. The plan will be updated at regular intervals up to 2025 with a view to an overall revision in 2025 for the subsequent period.



Authority:Nature Management Act of 2009 and the Marine Resources Act of 2009
Lead Planning Agency:Norwegian Environment Agency
Financing:Funding exists to fully implement the plan
Size of Planning Area:1,200,000 km2 (covers areas outside the baseline—one nm off the coast)
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 May 2009
Legal Status of Plan:Regulatory/Enforceable
Plan revision:Assess on a regular basis; first update to be made no later than 2014; an overall revision to management plan to be made in 2025
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 measures of the plan


Integrated Management plan for the Norwegian Sea (English)