The Governance of Multi-Use Platforms at Sea for Energy Production and Aquaculture: Challenges for Policy Makers in European Seas
European seas are encountering an upsurge in competing marine activities and infrastructures. Traditional exploitation such as fisheries, tourism, transportation, and oil production are accompanied by new sustainable economic activities such as offshore windfarms, aquaculture, and tidal and wave energy. One proposed solution to overcome possible competing claims at sea lies in combining these economic activities as part of Multi-Use Platforms at Sea (MUPS). MUPS can be understood as areas at sea, designated for a combination of activities, either completely integrated in a platform or in shared marine space. MUPS can potentially benefit from each other in terms of infrastructure, maintenance, etc . Developing MUPS in the marine environment demands adequate governance. In this article, we investigate four European sites to find out how governance arrangements may facilitate or complicate MUPs. In particular, we apply a framework specifying policy, economic, social, technical, environmental, and legal (PESTEL) factors to explore governance arrangements in four case study sites in different sea basins around Europe (the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, and the Baltic Sea). The article concludes with policy recommendations on a governance regime for facilitating the development of MUPS in the future.
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