Are European Blue Economy ambitions in conflict with European environmental visions?

Jesper H. Andersen, Zyad Al-Hamdani, Jacob Carstensen, Karen Edelvang, Josefine Egekvist, Berit C. Kaae, Kathrine J. Hammer, Eva Therese Harvey, Jørgen O. Leth, Will McClintock, Ciarán Murray, Anton S. Olafsson, Jeppe Olsen, Signe Sveegaard, Jakob Tougaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


We report the outcomes of a comprehensive study of the potential consequences of the implementation of the EU Maritime Spatial Planning Directive (MSPD) in Danish waters. The analyses are anchored in a framework developed in support of data-driven Ecosystem-Based Maritime Spatial Planning. The data for the models include not only human stressors but also information on the distribution of ecosystem components ranging from planktonic communities over benthic communities to fish, seabirds and marine mammals. We have established a baseline, based on state-of-the-art data sets, with respect to combined effects upon ecosystem components. Future scenarios for the developments in human stressors were estimated for 2030 and 2050 based on information on existing policies, strategies and plans and were compared to the baseline. In addition, we developed a scenario for implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), i.e. working towards meeting the objectives of Good Environmental Status. Our results indicate that (1) combined human stressors will possibly increase in 2030 and 2050 compared to the baseline, (2) increased combined human stressors are likely to lead to a worsening of the environmental and ecological status sensu the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Water Framework Directive (WFD), and (3) the MSPD implementation process appears to conflict with the MSFD and WFD objectives. Accordingly, we are sceptical of claims of an untapped potential for Blue Growth in Danish marine waters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1981-1991
Number of pages11
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Cumulative pressures
  • Ecosystem-based management
  • Good Environmental Status
  • Marine Strategy Framework Directive
  • Maritime Spatial Planning
  • Maritime Spatial Planning Directive

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate


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