Marine Strategy Framework Directive

The European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) sets out the framework within which Member States may implement measures to achieve and maintain good environmental status by 2020. It is designed to protect and where necessary restore marine ecosystems across Europe. In Belgium, it is MUMM which has been given the task of monitoring status under the MSFD.

Good environmental status means the environmental status of marine waters where these provide ecologically diverse and dynamic oceans and seas which are clean, healthy and productive within their intrinsic conditions and the use of the marine environment is at a level that is sustainable, thus safeguarding the potential for uses and activities by current and future generations.


Application in Belgium: Belgian Continental Shelf


Initial phase 2012-2016

The initial phase will involve an assessment of the environmental status of Belgian waters: what is the current status and what are the human activities affecting this status? There will also be a determination of what “good environmental status” (GES) means for those marine areas, i.e. the status we hope to achieve. Eleven quality descriptors or themes will be used to determine 50 environmental targets for good environmental status. Status will be evaluated by means of monitoring programmes and indicators and, finally, a programme of measures will be defined to achieve GES.



  • Biodiversity, food webs and sea-floor integrity
  • Non-indigenous species introduced through human activity
  • Commercially exploited species of fish and shellfish
  • Eutrophication
  • Hydrographical conditions
  • Pollution
  • Contaminants in fish for human consumption
  • Marine litter
  • Energy, including underwater noise.




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