Israel’s marine space in the Mediterranean Sea (26,350 km2) is larger than the country’s terrestrial land area, and can serve many needs of society, the economy and the environment. It contains enormous potential energy resources (e.g., natural gas), is also the main source for the production of water for domestic consumption, and holds valuable natural and heritage resources.
The Israel Marine Plan was an initiative of a group of researchers and planners at the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning’s Center for Urban and Regional Studies at the Technion. Professional consultants in a variety of marine fields joined the effort, from Israel and abroad. A private consulting group, Ethos – Architecture, Planning and Environment, managed the planning process. The process was conducted with the assistance of a large group of stakeholders, including representatives of government ministries and government bodies, environmental organizations, local authorities, and representatives of the business sector that has a connection with the sea. The stakeholders have had considerable impact on the process of formulating the plan.
In recent decades the Israeli sea has become an area of multiple uses and activities, as well as conflicts. Pressures caused by infrastructure and urban and rural development along the coast. The use of the sea itself has multiplied considerably with the discovery of natural gas. The sea is a rich and still to be discovered source of energy, enabling Israel to come closer to energy independence.
The Israel Marine Plan is intended to integrate, accompany and support parallel measures of planning, legislation, research and study of the sea in Israel, at present and in the future. Its aim is to establish a long-term policy and an inclusive and effective spatial plan for Israel’s marine space in the Mediterranean Sea. The Israeli sea is an oligotrophic sea (very poor in nutrients), with very limited fishing resources. Poor management of fishing and actual overfishing has contributed to the depletion of fish, and caused serious harm to essential environmental resources. The Ministry of Agriculture has proposed developing controlled mariculture that will develop food from the sea in an economically and environmentally sustainable way.
All material prepared within the framework of the plan is available on the website: msp-israel.net.technion.ac.il.
|Lead Planning Agency:||Technion - Israel Institute of Technology|
|Financing:||Limited funding exists to partially implement the plan|
|Size of Planning Area:||10,000-50,000 km2|
|Time required to complete the plans:||2 years or less|
|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; Effects of climate change (e.g., sea-level rise)|
|Stakeholder participation:||Throughout the MSP process|
|Sectors included in planning:||All|
|Relation to coastal management:||Strong connection to adjacent coastal management program|
|Relation to marine protected area management:||Existing and future MPAs incorporated in the management plan|
|Plan approval:||Plan completed, but not yet approved|
|Legal Status of Plan:||Advisory/Strategic|
|Plan revision:||No review/revision is specified|
|Performance monitoring and evaluation:||Plan has not been revised yet|