The Government of the Republic of Korea promulgated the Framework Law on Ocean and Fisheries Development and its ocean strategy, the Ocean Korea 21 (OK 21), in 2002. These two documents are the backbone of ocean policy of the country. Currently, the government is implementing a 10-year operational plan for the OK 21, which covers most of the commitments on oceans and coasts under the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) and the Sustainable Development Strategy for the Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA). Through the implementation of the OK 21, the government is trying to increase the contribution of the ocean sector to the national GDP from 7% (approximately US$33 billion) in 2005 to 10% by 2016.
The integration of land and ocean management programs in 2008 created the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, and enabled improved implementation of integrated land and ocean policies. One significant consequence of the integration has been demonstrated by the revision of the Coastal Zone Management Act in 2009, which now includes a coastal zoning scheme. Since the enactment of the Coastal Zone Management Act (1999), almost all coastal-located local governments have completed the development of their coastal management plans covering approximately 11,025km of coastline, which accounts for about 91.5% of total coastline of RO Korea. Local governments are currently implementing their coastal management plans.
As ocean health and the marine ecosystem continue to deteriorate, discussions on how to improve the marine spatial planning system of the Republic of Korea are being held in an effort to safeguard sustainability and ensure blue growth. A Master Plan for Marine Space, to be established in 2019, will serve as the government’s highest-level plan for marine space management, providing a framework for building an integrated marine space management system. A marine spatial management plan will be initiated in 2018 starting from the southern coasts of RO Korea and completed in 2021 covering all the coasts. Government priorities and resources, intensity of conflicts in marine spaces, and sustainable use of marine spaces will all be considered in the establishment of the marine spatial management plan, to be implemented on a yearly basis. The main components of the Marine Spatial Planning System will include the following: Coastal Zoning System, Marine Spatial Assessment, Marine Space Suitability Consultation, Research and Technology Development, Oceans and Fisheries Platform, and Participatory and Cooperative Governance.