The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC) of 17 June 2008 establishes a framework for community action in the political domain for the marine environment. It aims to implement action plans to achieve good status of marine waters. For this, measurements should be taken of the impact related to pressure from human activities exercised in the marine domain: maritime transport, production of renewable energy, extraction of raw materials, fishing and aquaculture, pleasure sailing or in the land domain: agriculture, industry, tourism. (for more information...).
It is founded on an "ecosystem-based approach", for the marine regions of the European Union, which are the waters located beyond the baseline used for the measurement of the extent of territorial waters and extending as far as the boundaries of the zone placed under the sovereignty or jurisdiction of member States, including the seabed and sub-seafloor in all of these waters (the continental shelf)
Two phases of implementation are identified:
- The initial evaluation (art.8 of the MSFD), which is based only on existing and available data. This phase is currently in progress.
- The monitoring of good ecological status, which involves setting up or improving monitoring systems to perform repeated observations, preparing ecological status indicators, proposing and implementing protective systems and evaluating their effectiveness.
This directive is therefore based on observations and scientific data that must be shared and made accessible to a broad public as specified, for example, by the Aarhus Convention or article 7 of the 2004 Environmental Charter (constitutional law n° 2005-205 dated 1st March 2005), which gives a constitutional right of access to information relative to the environment held by the public authorities (see the MSFD website hosted at Ifremer).