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Our Oceans, Seas and Coasts

What's new ?

  • 25/06/2020: The Commission adopted the Article 20 report revealing that, while the EU’s framework for marine environmental protection is one of the most comprehensive and ambitious worldwide, it needs to be beefed up to be able to tackle predominant pressures such as overfishing and unsustainable fishing practices, plastic litter, excess nutrients, underwater noise and others types of pollution. The report is accompanied by three annexes supporting the findings of the report.
  • 25/06/2020:the European Environment Agency published its “Marine Messages II” that also provide further insight on the state seas fins themselves in. See the press release.
  • 10/05/2019: As requested by Article 16 of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the European Commission has assessed the programme of measures submitted by Member States. The Commission's assessment of 16 Member states programme of measures was included in the original Commission report (COM(2018) 562) and its annex (SWD(2018) 393) published in August 2018.
    The assessment of the seven Member States that could not be part of the original Commission report are now available as a second Staff Working Document (SWD(2019)510) with detailed guidance per Member State, as well as national technical reports.
  • 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.

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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.

For more information


The Commission is in the process of updating some of the content on this website in the light of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. If the site contains content that does not yet reflect the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, it is unintentional and will be addressed.