The Marine Directive aims to achieve Good Environmental Status of the EU's marine waters by 2020 and to protect the resource base upon which marine-related economic and social activities depend. The Directive enshrines in a legislative framework the ecosystem approach to the management of human activities having an impact on the marine environment, integrating the concepts of environmental protection and sustainable use. In order to achieve GES by 2020, each Member State is required to develop a strategy for its marine waters (or Marine Strategy). Because the Directive follows an adaptive management approach, the Marine Strategies must be kept up-to-date and reviewed every 6 years.
For the first time, Member States have now reported under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive on the state of the environment in their marine waters, on what they consider as being a "good environmental status" and on the objectives and targets they have set themselves to reach it by 2020 (articles 8, 9 and 10 of the MSFD). The result shows that more efforts are urgently needed if the EU is to reach its goal.
The findings of the report, and the way forward, were discussed in Brussels on March 3-4 at the HOPE ("Healthy Oceans- Productive Ecosytems") conference. It gathered governments, NGOs, academia and other stakeholders working with or in relation to the European marine environment. Read more here.
Further detailed information can be retrieved here:
* By December 2013, all but a few of the Member States concerned had reported to the European Commission. Data is therefore only partially available for some Member States, and one Member State has not reported at all. The European Commission has launched infringement procedures whenever relevant. In parallel to legal action, it will consider how to communicate its assessment and guidance to the Member States not included in this report, after they have reported fully.