What does the group focus on?

The group has selected a limited number of measures in the North Sea Region 2020 strategy to focus on the next 2-3 years:

Exchange best practice on Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) and Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM)
The group will work on analyzing existing MSP policies and management plans around the North Sea. It will furthermore seek to influence the development and implementation of the EU Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) directive by establishing shared NSC position on ICZM/MSP and actively participating in relevant CPMR working groups.

Promote sustainable and innovative exploitation of marine resources
The group will carry out a study on the potential impact that a discard ban will have on coastal communities, ports and fish processors. The study will facility exchange of best practice and form the basis of shared policy positions. Furthermore, it will seek to influence the conception and check the implementation of the common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform and European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

The group encourages partnership between industry and scientists to promote sustainable and innovative solutions and has initiated the establishment of a scientific working group on aquaculture between member regions that will exchange information with relevant R&D institutes and disseminate good practice to member regions.

Promote dialogue between all users of the North Sea to facilitate policy integration
The group encourages dialogue between stakeholders representing the different users of the North Sea basin. An early dialogue could help prevent conflicts between different user groups, and increase predictability in exploiting marine resources. It therefore supports the establishment of a North Sea Maritime Stakeholder Forum.

For more information, please download the Action Plan 2019-2020.

How is the work organized?

The work in mainly organised in plenary group meetings held 2-3 times a year.


The group is politically led by a Chair and two Vice-chairs and supported by an Advisor

Chair: Cllr. Åshild Kjelsnes, Sogn og Fjordane fylkeskommune

Vice-chair: Cllr. Henk Staghouwer, Province of Groningen

Vice-chair: Cllr. Richard Thomson, Aberdeenshire

Advisor: Yolanda Schmal, Province of Noord-Holland


Yolanda Schmal