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Our Oceans, Seas and Coasts

What's new ?

  • 01/08/2018: On 31 July 2018, the Commission adopted its report assessing these programmes, identifying whether they constitute an appropriate framework within the requirements of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and whether they address the pressures that the EU seas and oceans are facing.
  • 10/07/2018: The LIFE programme plays an important role in safeguarding the health of our seas and oceans. LIFE has co-funded some 120 projects that have mobilised some €320 million, including an EU contribution of €170 million. This brochure looks at some of those projects that aim to protect marine ecosystems and biodiversity.
  • 27/09/2017: In the European Union (EU) there is a framework that requires EU Member States to develop strategies to achieve 'good environmental status' in their marine waters by 2020. This objective aims at having clean, healthy and productive seas. Read more.
  • 17/05/2017: The Commission adopted two legislative instruments that helps Member States better define the good environmental status of their marine waters. A Commission Decision provides clearer criteria and methodologies as to what should be looked at when assessing and monitoring the EU's seas & oceans. This provides Member States with the flexibility to focus on problem areas and pushes for more cooperation among Member States sharing the same marine region. A Commission Directive  clearly maps the pressures that the sea is subjected to and ecosystem elements with the criteria to be considered when determining good environmental status.
  • 16/01/2017: The Commission adopted a report assessing Member States' monitoring programmes under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (COM(2017)3) . These monitoring programmes are crucial to monitor progress towards achieving good environmental status in EU's waters. The Commission's report finds that, despite considerable efforts, additional action is needed to ensure monitoring is made operational as soon as possible and covers all aspects of good environmental status. The report is accompanied by a Staff Working Document (SWD(2017)1) with detailed guidance per Member State, as well as national technical reports.
  • 23/05/2016: The Commission published guidelines (SWD2016)178) on sustainable aquaculture, compatible with environmental protection under the Water Framework Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive. These guidelines are aimed at improving business certainty for operators in the sector. Translations in all EU languages available here.
  • 01/10/2015: Marine Protected Areas report
    A Commission report shows significant progress in establishing protected areas in Europe's seas, with benefits for the economy and the environment.

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A precious resource…

We all make use of our seas and oceans. Traditional uses (transport, fishing, tourism) now sit alongside more recent activities (mineral extraction, wind farms). The seas have enormous intrinsic value: unlike our cities, they provide us with a free horizon; we enjoy clean coastal and marine environments and the wildlife they support; and we benefit from their role in keeping our climate stable.

…under threat

But the unsustainable use of our seas threatens the fragile balance of marine ecosystems. Human activities that depend on the sea, such as fishing and tourism, suffer from damaged ecosystems and use-related competition will become increasingly serious.

What is the EU doing?

The EU Coastal and Marine Policy provides the legal impetus for the EU to protect and clean up its coasts, seas and oceans as part of an integrated strategy that will enable us to use them sustainably.

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