Talk:European Marine Strategy Framework Directive

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Review by Job Dronkers (January 2013)

The European Commission has an excellent website that provides clear, comprehensive and up-to-date information on the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

Most countries have delivered in 2012 an initial assessment of the presently available information on environmental and socio-economic aspects of seas under their jurisdiction, as prescribed by the directive. The member states are now preparing monitoring programmes tuned to the 11 descriptors of Good Environmental Status (GES) defined in the directive; these monitoring programmes should become operational in 2014.

Knowledge of marine processes is far from complete. There are still many implementation issues that are not fully resolved, for instance:

  • what are effective methods for obtaining meaningful information on the descriptors (what should be measured, how, when?);
  • how to interpret the data (what are the causes of observed changes?);
  • how to express the GES in quantifiable targets?
  • what are appropriate measures for achieving the Good Environmental Status (how to predict the impact of measures?)

For this reason, the implementation of the marine strategy is scheduled as an iterative adaptive process, with a 6-year cyclus of assessment and revision.