Europe’s seas provide important economic, environmental and social benefits including healthy, secure food supplies and other resources, and employment in coastal communities. At the same time, seas are subject to competing human and environmental pressures, including pollution by nutrient enrichment and contaminants, overfishing, damage to seafloor habitats, the introduction of non-indigenous species, litter, and climate change.

In 2008, the EU adopted the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), which aims to achieve Good Environmental Status of its marine waters and protecting the resource base upon which marine-related economic and social activities depend. The MSFD complements other key policies, including the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive (MSPD), and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), in ensuring the sustainable development of the EU maritime economy.

Service contract to support the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), DG Environment (2010-2019).

Since 2010, Milieu is supporting the European Commission in the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

The key task led by Milieu has been the technical assessment of the implementation of the Directive by the Member States, covering all steps of the first planning cycle including the initial assessment of the state of the marine environment, the definition of an ideal status and environmental targets, the design of a monitoring programmes, and the establishment of a Programme of Measures to address and reduce human pressures on the marine environment.

The technical reports Milieu has produced since 2010 are available online.

Service contract for support to activities related to the EU policy on integrated coastal management and maritime spatial planning, 2013-2017

The 2014 Maritime Spatial Planning Directive (MSPD) established a common framework for the planning of maritime activities.  Milieu contributed to a project reviewing key land-sea interactions in the aquaculture, desalination, fisheries, marine cables and pipelines, minerals and mining, ports and shipping, tourism and coastal recreation and offshore energy sectors, to support Member States in developing their Marine Spatial Plans. The analysis identified opportunities for improvement in several fields: policy and legislation, potential analytical tools, stakeholders’ engagement, management options and potential mitigation measures to address impacts on the marine environment.

The results of this contract were published as a set of guidelines by the European Commission are available online.

Regional Ocean Governance in Europe: The role of Fisheries, 2016-2017

This project investigated whether the European Union should increase its activity in Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) and effectively take a greater role in ocean governance on the relevant water basins.

This study also addressed the role of regional governance within the framework of international ocean governance. Milieu combined various research approaches to deliver an academically sound and practically applicable Research Study. Additionally, case studies on EU fisheries were developed to exemplify the implementation of ocean governance and to provide practical application of the theoretical understanding gained through the project.