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Environment
News article | 9 April 2021 | Brussels | Directorate-General for Environment

Protecting seas and oceans: Commission publishes roadmap to review EU rules

Details

Publication date
Author
Directorate-General for Environment
Location
Brussels

The Commission has published a roadmap for the review of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), to examine its achievements and shortcomings, explore options for improvement and propose possible amendments.

The objectives of the Directive are to maintain healthy, productive and resilient marine ecosystems, while securing a more sustainable use of marine resources for the benefit of current and future generations. Under this Directive, EU countries are required to develop marine strategies in order to achieve ‘good environmental status’ and have clean, healthy and productive seas. Such status should have been achieved by 2020.

The review of the MSFD, due by mid-2023, will build on the implementation report adopted in June 2020 that took stock of the main achievements and major challenges of the first implementation cycle. .  This review aims to more effectively and efficiently protect the marine environment while enabling a sustainable use of EU seas and oceans in line with the EU environmental agenda under the European Green Deal. The evaluation of the Directive will look in more depth at how the MSFD has performed so far and will assess the relevance of this instrument in the context of the European Green Deal, especially in relation to the new Biodiversity Strategy and the forthcoming Zero Pollution Action Plan and Climate Adaptation Strategy.

Building on the evaluation, the Commission will prepare an impact assessment to explore different policy or legislative options and their potential impacts.

Next steps

The roadmap is open for public feedback until the 6 May 2021. A 12-week online public consultation will then be launched in Q2 2021.

Background

The marine environment is subject to multiple pressures and impacts from human activities at sea and on land. These activities have resulted in pollution, seabed damage, overexploitation, biodiversity loss, spread of non-indigenous species, marine litter, underwater noise, ocean warming and acidification. The EU adopted the Marine Strategy Framework Directive in 2008 to tackle these intertwining challenges.

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