The Association of municipalities in the Westfjords, Teiknistofan Eik and the University Centre of the Westfjords are now working on a Utilisation plan for the coastal zone of Arnarfjörður, Westfjords, Iceland. The work began in 2009 when the registration of all utilisation of the Westfjord's coastal zone began. Data was collected, e.g. at open meetings in Drangsnes, Reykhólar, Patreksfjörður and Ísafjörður in November that same year. After that it was decided to focus Arnarfjörður. The Utilisation plan for the coastal zone of Arnarfjörður is an experimental project, but the findings will then be used to make a similar plan for the whole of Westfjords. The Westfjords is an ideal area to develop a methodology for such planning. There is a strong connection between the population and the sea, but the utilisation of the coastal zone is also quite diverse. The demand and stress on coastal utilisation has also increased.
According to planning law the general zoning plan of municipalities is limited to a line that lies 115 m from the neap tide water level. Outside this line there is no plan in force and all management and decision making is on the hands of multiple institutions and ministries. Therefore the management of that area is uneconomic and the whole perspective minimal. Municipalities have a very limited approach to decision making outside this line, and therefore it's very difficult for the municipalities and those who want to utilise the coastal areas to form any kind of vision for the future. This utilisation plan is being created in cooperation with and with the support of the government, but also supporting it are the Westfjord's growth agreement and Náttúruverndarsjóður Pálma Jónssonar. The main goal of this project it to generate an integrated utilisation plan for the coastal zone of Arnarfjörður and coordinate the management and utilisation of the area in cooperation with stakeholders. The project is meant to improve the utilisation options of Arnarfjörður's coastal zone and encourage sustainable utilisation for the benefit of the society, economy and environment. The project is also meant to contribute to innovation in the field of environmental and resource management in coastal areas. A certain work procedure will be used that among other things includes close cooperation with inhabitants and stakeholders.