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Marine Strategy Framework Directive

Why do we need the Directive?

There is widespread concern about the state of Europe's marine environment with threats such as loss or damage to habitats and species, changes to ecosystems, pollution impacts and climate change effects. To try to reverse these threats and aim for a healthy and productive marine environment, the EU adopted the Marine Strategy Framework Directive in July 2008.

What does the Directive do?

It requires Member States to take measures to achieve or maintain Good Environmental Status (GES) by 2020. GES will be defined at the scale of a Marine Region or sub-region (such as the North Sea) and will be based on a series of 'qualitative descriptors' which are listed in annex 1 of the Directive.

Member States have to prepare and implement marine strategies to protect the marine environment, prevent deterioration and, where possible, restore damaged marine ecosystems. The Directive also seeks to phase out marine pollution to protect the marine environment, human health and sustainable use.

How will the Directive be progressed in the UK?

The Directive was transposed into UK law external site in July 2010 and work is now well underway to complete an initial assessment of marine environmental status by July 2012. Some of this will be met by the recent 'Scotland's Marine Atlas external site ' and 'Charting Progress 2' external site reports but further work is required to develop targets and indicators of Good Environmental Status.

The UK Marine Policy Statement sets out the high level aims of the Directive but these need to be translated in more detail in marine plans at the national and regional level. Changes are also expected to the Common Fisheries Policy external site at its next review to ensure that fisheries management better supports the aims of the Directive.  SNH is engaging in all of these activities to try and ensure that the implementation of the Directive achieves the best results for our marine natural heritage.

Last updated on Friday 26th February 2016 at 16:05 PM. Click here to comment on this page