Marine Strategy Framework Directive


The European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC) better known as MSFD was adopted and entered into force in 2008. Just like all the member states of the European Union bordering the sea, Belgium has to develop a marine strategy to achieve a "good environmental status" of its marine waters by 2020 in order to protect the marine environment, to prevent deterioration and to repair, where possible, the damage that has already been done to marine ecosystems.

The Marine Environmental Service of the Federal Public Service Health, Food chain safety and Environment coordinates the different steps of the implementation of the MSFD. In addition, OD Nature, with our group MUMM, is in charge to define and implement the monitoring programmes of the MSFD.


To meet the 2020 target, a number of imposed key steps have to be undertaken by Member States:

  • In 2012 Begium reported to the EU Commission an initial assessment of the ecological status of the Belgian part of the North Sea, a description of a good environmental status and the environmental objectives associated with and a socio-economic analysis of the activities at sea.
  • By October 2014, a monitoring programme needed to be clearly defined. The Belgian marine monitoring programme has been successfully reported by MUMM to the EU Commission in September 2014;
  • A programme of measures has to be defined by 2015 and implemented by 2016 to reach a good environmental status by 2020.
  • Each step of the implementation process needs to be reviewed every 6 years and revised if necessary (first assessment in 2018).

For more information, please visit our specialised website of the Scientific Service Management Unit of the Mathematical Model of the North Sea.

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