The ever increasing demands on ocean resources in all European Sea Basins and resulting pressure on the use of ocean space, are underlining issues of compatibility (or conflicts) between different maritime uses as well as between economic activities and environmental protection. As a result ocean space is a valuable asset deserving special attention in marine management and planning.
Management should be systematic, coordinated, as well as account both for existing maritime uses and anticipate future needs. This means that co-uses, synergies and multiple spatial uses should be promoted as much as possible. Integrating different functions/ uses/ activities in time and space in the sea, in a complementary way, termed here as Multi-Use (MU), can offer multiple benefits.
While there are good reasons for promoting MU, its realisation is rendered difficult by conceptual problems and the need to overcome sectoral demands, vested interests, and any other barriers associated with existing political institutions and practices. The goal of Multi-Use in European Seas (MUSES) project is to identify and highlight the real opportunities for MU in European Seas.
The MUSES project has explored practical solutions on overcoming existing barriers and minimizing risks associated with MU development at a local level, through a range of case studies around Europe. MUSES case studies focused on the challenges arising from tensions between maritime activities demanding ocean space. Key findings suggest that combining compatible activities in the same marine space can serve to share and reduce costs, and generate further synergies between those activities. MUSES case study findings focusing on offshore energy will be presented, including the environmental, spatial, economic & societal benefits of MU, as well as practical solutions to overcome identified barriers.