The Marine Strategy Framework Directive

The aim of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive 2008/56/EC, (MSFD), is to protect the marine environment across Europe. The MSFD was adopted in June 2008 and is the environmental component of Europe's Integrated Maritime Policy.

The directive sets a target of "Good Environmental Status" which must be achieved in EU marine waters by 2020. Below is a timeline for the directive. Following the first cycle of management which ends in 2020, new programmes of measures will be set on a six yearly basis.

The marine strategies to be developed by each Member State must contain a detailed assessment of the state of the environment, a definition of "good environmental status" at regional level and the establishment of clear environmental targets and monitoring programmes.

To find out more about the 11 descriptors of Good Environmental Status, click here.

Each Member State must draw up a programme of cost-effective measures to attain good environmental status.

The MSFD complements the Water Framework Directive, extending environmental protection into EU marine waters beyond the coastal waters.

Click here for the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive Home Page

Click here for a copy of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive

Click here for a more detailed timeline for the implementation of the MSFD