Marine Strategy Framework Directive

The marine environment must be protected and preserved to ensure that it is healthy and productive. It is within this context that the Integrated European Maritime Policy which aims to provide a coherent framework for joined up maritime governance is being developed. The Marine Strategy Framework Directive is the environmental pillar for this integrated policy.

Publication of the Programme of Measures and response to consultation

The UK’s Marine Strategy Part Three:Programme of Measures sets out a comprehensive set of existing and planned measures that will help achieve good environmental status in our seas.

The Marine Strategy Part Three : Programme of Measures consultation was open from January to April 2015. You can also now view the Summary of responses to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) PoMs consultation.

MSFD objectives and key requirements

The Marine Strategy Framework Directive which came into force in July 2008 is the environmental pillar of the EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy.

The Directive requires Member States to take action to achieve or maintain good environmental status (GES) in their seas by 2020. GES involves protecting the marine environment while using marine resources sustainably.

The Directive establishes 11 GES Descriptors relating to biological diversity, non-indigenous species, commercially exploited fish and shellfish, food webs, eutrophication, sea floor integrity, hydrographical conditions, contaminants, contaminants in fish, litter and noise.

The Directive sets out a number of key requirements Member States must undertake.

Deadline Action Implemented via
By July 2010 Transpose the Directive Marine Strategy Regulations 2010 
By July 2012

Undertake an initial assessment of marine waters

Determine a set of characteristics of and comprehensive targets and indicators to guide progress to good environmental status

UK Marine Strategy Part one 
By July 2014 Establish and implement a co-ordinated monitoring programme for the on-going assessment of good environmental status UK Marine Strategy Part two  
By December 2015 Develop a programme of cost effective measures to achieve good environmental status UK Marine Strategy Part three 
By December 2016 Implement the programme of measures In progress

To ensure the requirement within the Directive for a coherent, coordinated and integrated approach to the marine environment the Directive was transposed at a UK level through the Marine Strategy Regulations 2010. The Regulations make provision for public consultation at each stage of implementation.

DAERA is working closely with other bodies responsible for marine activities, to ensure coordinated, joined up and effective implementation at a local level. At a national level DAERA is working with Defra and the Scottish and Welsh governments to implement the Directive through the UK-Marine Strategy.

Next steps

Article 17 of the Directive requires Member States to keep their Marine Strategies up to date and makes provision for a 6 year review of each element of the Marine Strategy.  Work has commenced on reviewing the UK Marine Strategy Part One. This will be completed  by 2018.

Additional information

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