The marine waters of Sweden cover about 130,000 km2 (territorial sea about 70,000 km2 and the EEZ about 60,000 km2—the largest in the Baltic Sea.  No national marine spatial plans currently cover the territorial sea and the EEZ in Sweden, but legislation for national marine spatial planning in Sweden has been in place since September 2014.  In 2015 the government adopted a marine spatial planning ordinance (2015:400) that regulates the process of the marine spatial planning in Sweden.

The Swedish Environmental Code and the Plan and Building Act constitute the legal basis for MSP in Sweden. Three plans covering the territorial sea and the EEZ are being prepared at the county level: Skagerrak/Kattegat, Baltic Sea, and Gulf of Bothnia.  The county administration boards (CABs) have a coordinating role for national interests. The CABs will also control and check the plans. The Marine Spatial Planning Ordinance regulates the MSP process and contains provisions on geographical boundaries, the content of the marine spatial plan the responsibility for preparation, consultation and review. The Swedish Government (Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management) governs the EEZ.

Each of the over 80 municipalities with sea territory can practice MSP out to the territorial boundary (12 nm from the baseline). Only few of 80 municipalities engage in any marine planning within the territorial sea (baseline to 12 nm). The plans are to be adopted by the municipal assembly.

A guidance document for the planned MSP process was published for consultation in 2015. The document was prepared by the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management and includes proposals about planning objectives and strategies.


Authority:National legislation
Lead Planning Agency:Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management
Financing:No funding exists to implement the plan
Size of Planning Area:50,000-100,000 km2
Time required to complete the plans:More than 4 years
Drivers of MSP:Need for a more integrated approach; Economic growth concerns; Perceived conflicts among uses, e.g., marine mining v. fishing; Perceived conflicts between uses and nature conservation, e.g., marine protected areas; 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
Relation to coastal management:Not specified
Relation to marine protected area management:Not specified
Plan approval:Planning underway. Years of planning phase: 2015-2019
Legal Status of Plan:Advisory/Strategic
Plan revision:Not specified
Performance monitoring and evaluation:Not specified


Bothnian Sea Trans-boundary Pilot Project between Finland and Sweden (Plan Bothnia project, 2010-2012)

An EU- financed “Plan Bothnia” pilot project, completed in 2012, focused on cross-border marine spatial planning between Sweden and Finland under the auspices of HELCOM. The planning covers the marine areas of the Bothnian Sea between the two countries and the territorial waters outside of the baselines, as well as the exclusive economic zones. In addition to the marine area, the coastal zone, shoreline and activities on land are also described. A pilot plan for marine spatial planning of the Bothnian Sea was prepared, focusing on developments over the next 15 years.


Sweden’s current MSP activities