The FAIRCoast project aims to facilitate more integrated governance of the coastal zone in Norway.

Last update

Read in Norwegian


01. Jan 2019


31. Mar 2023

Funded by

The Research Council of Norway


NTNU Social Research, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Queens University (UK), University of Ottawa (Canada)

Project Manager(s):

Ingrid Kvalvik

Pressure on the coast is increasing. An increase in activities conducted by established and new industries is putting pressure on the marine environment and creating competition between different user interests. Consequently the authorities need to place priority on the types of usage (or non-usage) that will take place in various parts of the coastal zone, and regulate such.

Governance of the coastal zone currently falls under many different authorities who are responsible for different activities and interests, such as fisheries, aquaculture, sea transport, pollution and the environment. In addition to this, the municipalities are responsible for planning, i.e. they are responsible for allocating land for various activities in their coastal zone plans.

All these various interests, and the fact that the governance systems consist of different authorities operating at different levels of governance, means that achieving integrated governance is a challenge. Integrated governance could involve coordination between the various levels of governance and sectors and geographical areas, and undertaking integrated assessments of any effects.

This is what we do

Under the FAIRCoast project we will analyse both the governance frameworks and how they will be implemented, along with what will help or prevent inclusion, coordination and the weighing up the various interests. In this way we will identify barriers and point out opportunities for better integration between the authorities and the users of coastal planning in Norway.

Among other things, we will analyse the importance of the types of plans used by the municipalities (land and sea plans, just coastal zone plans or inter-municipal plans where several municipalities work together to plan for a larger area). Different types of plans contribute differently to the integration of different participants and considerations.

We will also analyse measures for improving coordination of the sectoral authorities such as local government, county governors and the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries. Our work will include looking at the so-called FAKS network (Coordination of Local Government Aquaculture Cooperation) and the County Governor’s coordination of government objections in respect of planning matters.

Impact assessments will be used in order to see all interests and considerations in context when planning new activities in the coastal zone. During the project we will investigate how different interests are being weighed up. In this respect we will be particularly interested to see whether or not impact assessments will serve as useful tools for integration, and we will investigate any weighing up of national, regional and local considerations.


Scientific articles




Power, knowledge and the transformative potential of marine community science. Benedict McAteer, Wesley Flannery

Assessing marine spatial planning governmentality. Authors Wesley Flannery & Ben McAteer. Alternative link here

Popular science communication

Blog post: Er helhet det nye buzzordet i arealplanlegging? Patrick Sørdahl

Article: FairCoast. Forskning for mer helhetlig kystsoneforvaltning. Ann-Magnhild Solås og Kristine Vedal Størkersen, Samordningsforum for akvakulturforvaltningen i Troms og Finnmark, 21 november 2019


How can the choice of plan types affect coastal governance integration in Norway? Kvalvik, Ingrid; Solås, Ann-Magnhild; Sørdahl, Patrick Berg. PlanNord 2019, The 9th Nordic Planning Research Symposium; 21-23 august 2019

How can different planning approaches increase coastal governance integration? Case studies from Norway. Solås, Ann-Magnhild; Kvalvik, Ingrid. MARE People and the Sea X. Learning from the past, imagining the future; 25-28 juni 2019

Impact assessments in Norwegian coastal zone planning. Mikkelsen, Eirik Inge; Sørdahl, Patrick Berg. PlanNord 2019, The 9th Nordic Planning Research Symposium; 21-23 august 2019

Impact assessments in Norwegian Coastal Zone Planning. Sørdahl, Patrick Berg; Mikkelsen, Eirik Inge. MARE People and the Sea X. Learning from the past, imagining the future; 25-28 juni 2019

Project group

Nofima will be leading this project. In conjunction with researchers from NTNU Social Research, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Queens University Belfast in Northern Ireland and the University of Ottawa in Canada, we will be investigating what promotes and inhibits the integration of different participants and interests in Norwegian coastal zone governance.