As part of the Interreg IT-HR project HATCH (Hadriaticum Data Hub), the Blue World Institute organized last week a study visit of project partners to Veli Lošinj, Croatia, which included a workshop on Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP).

Thanks to guest lecturers from the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and State Property of the Republic of Croatia and experts from the partner organization CORILA from Venice, the workshop participants were introduced to the progress of the spatial planning process of the maritime area in Croatia and Italy.


MSP is a process used to manage and allocate the use of marine space in a sustainable manner. It involves a comprehensive and integrated approach to planning for the use of the marine areas and their resources. The goal of the MSP is to balance various activities at sea such as fishing, shipping, maritime transport, recreation, energy development and scientific research while simultaneously protecting the marine environment and ensuring the long-term sustainability of marine resources. MSP is based on the principles of ecosystem-based management, according to which the health of marine ecosystems is essential for the long-term sustainability of the seas and oceans. The MSP process involves a joint effort between stakeholders, including government agencies, businessmen, non-governmental organizations and community representatives.

In EU countries, the process of spatial planning of marine areas is defined by EU Directive 2014/89, and the member states are currently in different stages of preparation, adoption and implementation of this process. Considering the length of the coastal area of the Republic of Croatia and the increasingly intensive use of the marine environment for various, primarily economic purposes, spatial planning, which regulates activities at sea, is an extremely important process for which a legal basis has been created. In Italy, MSP is also in the development phase and intensive preparations are underway for public consultations on the first proposals.

The aim of the HATCH project is to promote and collect the results of previous projects from the EU cross-border cooperation program Interreg Italy-Croatia in order to develop protocols for the application of chemical, physical, biological and ecological parameters obtained from various monitoring programs for use in spatial planning of the marine environment, thereby contributing effective protection of the Adriatic Sea. The total value of the HATCH project is EUR 566,000, and it is co-financed by the EU through the ERDF cross-border cooperation program Interreg Italy-Croatia. The project started in June 2022 and will last 13 months.