The Norwegian coast is unique. Not counting Svalbard, the coast is 21 000 km long, which is half the length of the equator. The prospect for expanding fisheries and marine aquaculture is huge.
Within the baseline lies 90 000 km2 of sea. This corresponds to approximately 1/3 of the total land area. Bordering to this coastal area, are 280 municipalities. In Norway we have 431 municipalities in total. Eighty percent of the population resides around the coast and up to 10 km inland. Given this fact, there is no surprise in mentioning that we are a coastal nation. A nation heavily influenced by coastal culture, and engaged in marine economic development.
There are three principle areas of interest in the coastal zone: 1) protection and conservation, 2) recreation and 3) usage. Conflicts arise between utilisation and conservation, more specifically, between industry, recreation and natural area-conservation.
The most important legal tool for integrated coastal zone planning is the planning and building act of 2008. Ground rules are laid down for the planning process. The intentional purpose of the act is to bring about uniform planning for central-, county- and municipal activities. This meaning area utilisation and exploitation of natural resources assessed in conjunction with the municipals planning and financial conditions.
As a general rule, it is the elected municipal and county councils whom are responsible for planning and the formal adoption of the plans. However, it is vital to the planning process that all involved parties cooperate with the municipal zone planning, not to mention the Directorate of Fisheries’ outer sector, which comprises 27 regional and local offices along the coast.