Planning area and main issues / conficts

The pilot area represents almost all significant sea uses in Latvia: shipping, harbours, fishery, oil extraction and wind energy production, nature conservation, tourism, military interests and others.

Potential conflicts are expected due a new marine uses and interests in the area. In this pilot case new coming uses are nature conservation and offshore wind park development.

Pilot area covers three new designated marine protected areas, which are proposed and might obtain Natura 2000 status during the project implementation. Marine protected areas are designated for the protection of reefs and birds (goosander Mergus merganser, little gull Larus minutus and divers Gavia sp. etc.).

Latvian Western coast is also most suitable for off-shore wind park building in Latvian marine waters. Around 600 km2 is licensed for research on potential wind farm development.

Main stakeholders

The two large cargo harbours Ventspils and Liepāja (with total turnover 28,5 and 4,2 thous.t in 2008) are strong economic player in the region.
There is also a fishing and yacht port - Pāvilosta.

At the moment fishery sector is not economically rentable: too big and too old fishing fleet for available fish resources. Coastal fishery has however historical heritage value.

Tourism is an important activity along the all coastline. Recreation infrastructure is more targeted at nature, active and rural tourism. During the last years several tourism activities related to the sea have become more popular, for example yacht tourism, diving, kitebording etc.

Moreover, there are large areas of mine searching and clearance especially in waters around Liepāja, as well as military trainings.

Projected future uses of the Latvian sea are e.g.:
  • Wind farms – an area of 200 km2 has to be reserved according to national strategies.
  • Oil extraction – in the south part of the territory studies from the 1970-ties indicated potential oil fields. Permits for investigation and oil extraction are already issued, but the actual extraction has not yet started.
  • Measures for decrease of erosion risk – the biggest part of the coastline is under coastal erosion impact. Some municipalities consider possibilities to protect their coastline.

Activities / Approach

All MSP development process in Latvia is based on stockholders’ involvement.
As first BEF- Latvia has organised setting up of pilot MSP coordination group formed by the representatives of competent authorities:
  • Ministry of the Regional Development and Local Government
  • Ministry of Transport
  • Ministry of Economics
  • Ministry of Environment
  • Ministry of Agriculture
  • Ministry of Defence
  • Maritime Administration of Latvia
  • Kurzeme Planning Region.

The goal of coordination group is to inform, involve and to get support from authorities for first pilot MSP development in Latvia.

For broader stakeholder involvement has been held different stakeholders’ events:             o Fishery sector;
             o Wind park developers;
             o Port administrations;
             o Local authorities and tourism sector
Baltic Environmental Forum–Latvia is also taking part in the working group organized by the Ministry of Traffic on implementation of EU Integrated Maritime Policy, established by the Cabinet of Ministers on 16 February 2010. This will provide possibility to follow the policy development with regard to maritime issues in Latvia as well as insure promotion of the BaltSeaPlan activities and results to the national competent authorities.

An opinion poll was organized during July and August, 2010 to find out the position of local inhabitants and visitors about preferred marine uses. Questionnaires were distributed within local authorities, tourism information centres, but in some municipalities inquiry was done by BEF team. Results will be taken into account by MSP development.