Marine Strategy Framework Directive

Many of the threats facing Europe’s seas require cooperation between member states to tackle them effectively. The Marine Strategy Framework Directive aims to achieve Good Environmental Status in Europe’s seas by 2020. The European Commission has produced a guidance document to help member states implement the Directive. This Directive fits well with the UK vision for ‘clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse seas’.

What does the Directive require?

The Directive came into force on 15 July 2008. Key requirements of the Directive are:

  • An assessment of the current state of UK seas by July 2012
  • A detailed description of what Good Environmental Status means for UK waters, and associated targets and indicators by July 2012
  • Establishment of a monitoring programme to measure progress toward Good Environmental Status by July 2014
  • Establishment of a programme of measures for achieving Good
  • Environmental Status by 2016

What is Good Environmental Status?

The Directive sets out high level descriptors of Good Environmental Status which include:

  • Making sure populations of fish and shellfish are within safe biological limits
  • Maintaining the biological diversity of marine habitats and species
  • Limiting contaminants to the marine environment to levels which do not cause pollution.
  • The Marine Strategy Framework Directive Good Environmental
  • Status (GES) workshop was held in October 2010. The outcomes of the workshop, published in theworkshop report are intended to help inform the policy development process on providing a characterisation of Good Environmental Status and the setting of targets and indicators required under the Directive.

More Information

The Marine Strategy Part Three: UK Programme of Measures is now published. It sets out a comprehensive set of existing and planned measures that will help to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) in our seas by 2020.