Good Environmental Status

Within the Marine Strategy Framework Directive the Fisheries Secretariat focuses on developing the fisheries related descriptors addressing the impact of fishing activities on target species (descriptor 3), and sea-floor integrity (descriptor 6). We also participate in meetings of the Marine Strategy Coordination Group (MSCG) and its working groups at EU-level, where we have observer status.
The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) was adopted in 2008 with the objective to achieve and maintain Good Environmental Status (GES) of European seas and oceans by 2020. It is the first all-encompassing piece of European legislation specifically aimed at the protection of the marine environment with clear deadlines for its implementation at Member State level. It foresees the implementation of an ecosystem-based approach to the management of activities having an impact on the marine environment. HELCOM is the coordinating platform for the regional implementation of the MSFD in the Baltic Sea region.

GES illustration FishSec.Key deliverables stemming from the implementation of the Directive will be a range of “Marine Strategies” which every EU Member State must produce (see illustration). The MSFD runs in six year cycles.

Good Environmental Status is the basis of MSFD and contains eleven descriptors with which Member States need to comply.




Last updated: January 26, 2016

Recent publications

Priorities for environmentally responsible aquaculture in the EU

August 15, 2014

A joint position paper from Seas At Risk, The Fisheries Secretariat (FISH), Coalition Clean Baltic (CCB), BirdLife International, Marine Conservation...

Baltic ecosystem based multispecies management

July 21, 2014

The EU as a whole has an ambition to move towards long term multispecies management, rather than single-species management. As...

Priorities for MSFD programmes of measures

July 12, 2014

The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) has entered a crucial implementation phase as countries are now developing their programmes of...

MSFD Descriptor 3 and GES – joint NGO comments

May 12, 2014

A joint letter from The Fisheries Secretariat (FISH), Oceana, Coaltion Clean Baltic and Seas At Risk regarding Descriptor 3 and...