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Our Oceans, Seas and Coasts

Interaction with other Policies

The Marine Directive builds on existing EU legislation and covers specific elements of the marine environment not addressed in other policies.

Some of the key legislation and policies directly relevant to the Directive are described here:

  • The Water Framework Directive (2000) is closely linked to the Marine Directive. It sets a goal of achieving Good Status for all EU surface and groundwaters by 2015, tying in with the goal of Good Environmental Status under the Marine Directive. Following an adaptive management approach, it establishes a six-year planning cycle, during which Member States prepare River Basin Management Plans and develop actions and measures to achieve Good Status by 2015. Initial plans were published in 2009 and will be reviewed in 2015. Actions taken will reduce marine pollution from land-based sources and will protect ecosystems in coastal and transitional waters, which are vital spawning grounds for many marine fish species.
  • The Habitats and Birds Directives (1992 and 1979, codified 2009) are Europe’s central laws on nature conservation, providing special protection for key sites (the Natura 2000 network), animal species, plant species and habitat types of European importance. This protection will be reinforced with the Marine Directive’s Marine Protected Areas.
  • The Common Fisheries Policy sets out a collaborative approach to managing the EU’s shared seas and fisheries. Among other things, it lays down rules to ensure Europe’s fisheries are sustainable and do not damage the marine environment. The recent 2013 reform stresses that the Common Fisheries Policy shall ensure, among others, that fishing and aquaculture activities are environmentally sustainable in the long-term, thereby contributing to the objectives of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the achievement of 'Good Environmental Status'. 
  • The EU REACH Regulation (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances), which entered into force on 1 June 2007, aims to improve the protection of human health and the environment through the better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances, like the environmental risk they pose. It is directly related to Descriptor 8 (contaminants) and indirectly to Descriptor 9 (contaminants in seafood) and 10 (marine litter) of the Marine Directive.

logo wiseIn 2007, the European Commission and the European Environment Agency launched the Water Information System for Europe (WISE), a gateway to information on European water issues for the general public and stakeholders. This system has been extended to cover marine waters.

Under the Marine Directive, Member States are required to monitor the measures implemented to reach GES and report on each of the steps taken to establish the Marine Strategies. Sharing data on the state of marine waters and on the pressures and impacts from human activities, climate change, eutrophication, and physical, biological and chemical stressors will ensure there is no duplication of reporting effort and reduce the administrative burden. WISE-Marine, currently in development, will offer Member States a common platform to facilitate their reporting. It will also allow other actors such as NGOs, intergovernmental organisations, researchers and universities and the general public to access this data.

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European Commission Marittime Affairs and Ficheries

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