Implementation of ICZM initiatives results in different benefits for the coastal zone. Important ones are the ethical and the socio-economic benefits which can be revealed differently in the economic structure of coastal zones and for individual ICZM areas.

Ethical Benefits

ICZM helps preserving the nature and its resources for future generation (sustainable development), it helps preserving and promoting social equity and helps protecting traditional uses and rights and equitable access to coastal resources. In short, ICZM helps applying the principles stated in the Rio Declaration.

Socio-Economic Benefits

Benefits of ICZM can generally be grouped into non-sectoral and sectoral gains. These are illustrated by a number of governance-related benefits, such as (a) improved decision-making and more coherent spatial planning.

Amongst the sectors are benefits in (b) infrastructure, tourism and business, (c) nature protection and more sustainable fisheries, (d) sustainability of coastal communities, and (e) better preparation for climate impacts. In order to show different socio-economic benefits, this brochure presents examples of these five potential benefits of an ICZM approach (a-e) from throughout Europe.

To deepen your understanding of the socio-economic benefits of ICZM visit the related OURCOAST Brochure.

Example: Sustainable development of traditional fishery in the natural reserve of Bonifacio Strains, South Corsica (France)


As in many places in the world, the Mediterranean fisheries are in crisis. Among other tools for better management, marine reserves have been recently created in a number of areas along the Mediterranean coast. Today, there are more than 70 of them scattered in 21 countries. These marine reserves are multi-purpose but none have been assessed in regard to the impact on, and by, fisheries taking place within the area. One of the explanations is that most of them are no-take reserves forbidding any kind of fishing activity within their boundaries. It is not the case of the Bonifacio Strait Natural Reserve which is divided into a no-take zone and a regulated fishing zone in a trans-national context between Italy (Sardinia) and France (Corsica). It is thus possible to study not only the impact of a protected area on fishing yields but also on the ecosystem functioning and hence the species conservation strategy.

ICZM tools
The main techniques used are related to information gathering from stakeholders and archiving in databanks covering 37 different species of fish. A new indicator regarding the capacity of protected areas in the maintenance of key species for the functioning of the local ecosystem has been developed as well. The objectives were first to assess the catch per unit of effort evolution for small-scale fishing boats in regard to the overall catches and targeted species between 1992 and 2006, and second to develop significant indicators with regard to the population’s “health status”

(Source: OURCOAST, 2011)

Example: Offshore wind energy – opportunities and threats for regional and national socio-economic development (Germany)


Several wind parks are planned in the German Exclusive Economic Zone of the North Sea. Until 2030 between 20,000 and 25,000 MW power will be installed offshore, with the potential to produce about 15% of the national annual energy consumption. The west coast of the federal state Schleswig-Holstein is a model for the impact analysis and assessment of offshore wind power development. The marine area there is used by tourism, fisheries, production of raw materials, and the military, while the terrestrial area is mainly used by tourism and agriculture. The whole region of the Wadden and outer sea is protected by different conventions: the Wadden Sea is a national park inscribed also on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the outer sea areas are protected by Natura 2000 status. On one hand, offshore wind parks offer new economic opportunities in the alternative energy sector and on the other hand, they cause potential new conflicts with nature conservation, tourism, fisheries, military, shipping, and aeroplane traffic.

ICZM tools
Participation of different stakeholders aimed to identify the chances and risks in the cause of offshore wind energy development. Recommendations for action were to be developed from the impact analyses identifying option possibilities of specific stakeholders. A stakeholder analysis depicted the positions of different stakeholders and the reasons for their positions, and the positions communicated in the media and via networks. It revealed interest conflicts and convergences, and it analysed stakeholder participation within the planning procedures for three wind parks. The stakeholder analysis was compared with statements from the local public. Landscape aesthetics played a major role as a public value and led to some, but not strong, opposition to offshore wind power development. Weak opposition in general went hand in hand with weak support. To increase the chances for a beneficial effect of offshore wind power it is, thus, recommended to increase information and participation at the local level. The development of a spatial planning concept for the sea was a demand of several stakeholders.

(Source: OURCOAST, 2011)