Marine Strategy Framework Directive

The EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requires EU Member States to perform activities to achieve or maintain a Good Environmental Status (GES) of their marine waters by 2020.

These activities primarily concern the following:

  • making an initial assessment of the current environmental status of national marine waters by 15 July 2012;
  • the description of the Good Environmental Status of national marine waters by 15 July 2012;
  • establishing environmental targets and associated indicators for national marine waters to achieve GES by 2020;
  • The government has set out these activities in the Marine Strategy for the Dutch Part of the North Sea, Part I.

In addition, the MSFD requires the EU Member States to establish and implement a monitoring programme by 15 July 2014. For the Netherlands, this is the Marine Strategy for the Dutch Part of the North Sea, Part 2.

The MFSD moreover requires the EU Member States to develop a programme of measures by 2015 (for the Netherlands, this is the Marine Strategy for the Dutch Part of the North Sea, Part 3, part of the 2015 – 2021 North Sea Policy Document as an appendix to the 2015 – 2021 National Water Plan) and to implement it by 2016.

The MFSD applies a cyclic approach to the above activities. This means that the Member States must review and update the various elements of their marine strategy every six years after the establishment period for those elements stated in the MFSD. Regarding the programme of measures, within three years of the deadline stipulated in the MSFD for making the updated programme of measures (for the Netherlands, the Marine Strategy for the Dutch Part of the North Sea, Part 3) available for inspection, the Members States are required to draw up and submit a concise interim report within that period to the European Commission.

For further details of the MSFD, see the MSFD Timetable.

To view the text of the MSFD, visit the EUR-Lex website.

Further information on the implementation of MSFD monitoring by the Netherlands can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.


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