Multi-use of the sea: A wide array of opportunities from site-specific cases across Europe

maximilian.felix.schupp [ at ]


The concept of multi-use of the sea has gained popularity in recent years as a result of ocean space (coastal areas and regions with relatively small sea space in particular) becoming increasingly crowded due to the development of the maritime economy. Competing claims for space can be a source of conflict, however this may also lead to mutual benefits for different users when sustainable combinations are sought. Despite increasing European-wide efforts, on-the-ground knowledge and practice of multi-use are still limited. Therefore, with the aim of investigating opportunities for multi-use development in the European seas, 10 case studies were selected, involving different site-specific contexts. This study analyses the characteristics and development potential for ocean multi-use, integrating results from desk analysis and stakeholder perceptions from different sectors in each of the case study locations. Similarities and differences between various combinations of sea uses are also identified. The results show a high heterogeneity of multi-use opportunities between case studies, with a range of combinations identified. The investigated combinations of maritime uses share an overall balance between factors promoting (drivers) and hindering (barriers) multi-use development. Based on stakeholder opinions, expected benefits (added values) of multi-use implementation outweigh potential negative impacts. Management actions are also proposed to further exploit multi-use potential at a local, regional (sub-national) and national levels.

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Peer revision
ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0215010

Cite as
Bocci, M. , Sangiuliano, S. J. , Sarretta, A. , Ansong, J. O. , Buchanan, B. , Kafas, A. , Cana-Varona, M. , Onyango, V. , Papaioannou, E. , Ramieri, E. , Schultz-Zehden, A. , Schupp, M. F. , Vassilopoulou, V. and Vergilio, M. (2019): Multi-use of the sea: A wide array of opportunities from site-specific cases across Europe , PLOS ONE, 14 (4), pp. 1-36 . doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0215010



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