Marine Strategy Framework Directive

Marine and coastal spaces are the stage for a multitude of human activities: maritime transportation, production of renewable energies, extraction of raw materials, fishing, aquaculture, tourism, etc. The integrated management of these activities consists in using a global approach to the different uses of marine and coastal space, both fragile and in demand. The ecological status of marine waters is also linked to land-based human activities (agriculture, industry, demographic growth, etc.).

Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 --  the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) -- led the European Union Member States to take the measures necessary to reduce the impact of human activities on the marine environment to achieve or maintain a good environmental status of the marine environment by 2020.

In France, the Directive was transposed into law in the Environment Code (articles L. 219-9 to L. 219-18 and R. 219-2 to R. 219-17). Through Action Plans for the Marine Environment (PAMM), it is applied to areas of continental Europe under French sovereignty or jurisdiction, subdivided into four marine sub-regions: the English Channel-North Sea, the Celtic Seas, the Bay of Biscay and the Western Mediterranean Sea.

MFSD objectives

The MFSD pursues three main goals:

  1. To ensure the protection and the conservation of marine ecosystems and prevent their deterioration. In areas of high deterioration, ecosystem functioning must be restored.
  2. To prevent and progressively eliminate pollution.
  3. To contain the pressure of human activities (fishing, use of diverse services, etc.) on the marine environment within levels compatible with the achievement of good environmental status. Ecosystems must have the capacity to react to various natural and human-induced changes while enabling the sustainable use of the marine environment for future generations (e.g. Common Fisheries Policy).

Practical application of the MFSD

The initial assessment of the MFSD in 2012 produced an inventory of the marine litter (objects and microparticles in the water column, on the seafloor or on the coast) and demonstrated the lack of data on microplastics.

Owing to environmental objectives that aim to reduce the quantity of marine and coastal litter at their source, the monitoring programme deploys new surveys to collect as much data as possible, particularly during IFREMER fisheries surveys and WFD surveys in the Mediterranean. The information gathered will also allow the definition of various indicators of the quantity of litter and microparticles and their impact on marine life, determine the environmental status of water and take the necessary measures to reduce litter.

IFREMER’s role in the MFSD

In conjunction with the Marine Protected Areas Agency (AAMP), IFREMER takes on the role of scientific and technical coordinator on behalf of the Ministry in charge of the environment on the different aspects of the Directive.

Scientific steering committee

The Directorate for Water and Biodiversity (part of the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and the Sea) and the national technical coordination for the implementation of MFSD (IFREMER and AAMP) relies on a network of officers for each scientific theme. Officers are mandated to develop the scientific studies required for satisfactory implementation of the MFSD and draft or revise the Action Plans for the Marine Environment (PAMM).

A scientific steering committee is designated for each theme, corresponding to the themes of the monitoring programmes (PdS) and the descriptors of Good Environmental Status.

Theme

Scientific officer

Biodiversity

MNHN

Birds

MNHN

Marine mammals

UMS Pelagis

Sea turtles

MNHN

Fish and cephalopods

MNHN and Ifremer

Benthic habitats

CNRS

Pelagic habitats

CNRS and Ifremer

Non-indigenous species

MNHN

Commercial species

Ifremer

Food webs

CNRS/InEE

Eutrophication

Ifremer

Seabed integrity

BRGM

Hydrographic changes

SHOM

Contaminants

Ifremer

Public health issues

Anses

Marine debris

Cedre (costal debris) and Ifremer (floating debris, seafloor debris and microparticles)

Submarine noise

SHOM

Thematic coordination of the monitoring programme

The Directorate for Water and Biodiversity (DEB) relies on a coordinator to lead the operational implementation of monitoring programmes of the PAMM for each specific scientific theme and ensure the operational monitoring itself.

Theme

Coordinating organisation of the thematic programme

Birds

AAMP

Marine mammals

AAMP

Fish and cephalopods

Ifremer

Benthic habitats and Seabed integrity

AAMP (SP 1 à 8) & BRGM (SP 9-15)

Pelagic habitats

En cours de discussion

Non-indigenous species

MNHN

Commercial species

Ifremer

Eutrophication

En cours de discussion

Hydrographic changes

SHOM

Contaminants

Ifremer

Public health issues

Anses

Marine debris

AAMP

Submarine noise

SHOM

Monitoring operators

Some of the monitoring instruments operated by IFREMER are used for MFSD monitoring programmes.

These networks contribute to the monitoring for the Water Framework Directive (WFD), such as REPHY (phytoplankton), ROCCH (chemical contaminants), the benthic networks, etc.

The optimisation of fisheries surveys for the MFSD was given priority by the DEB. Additional surveys set up for the MFSD during 2016 include: microplastics, floating macrolitter and seafloor macrolitter, birds, marine mammals, gelatinous zooplankton, AIS & anthropogenic ocean noise and hydrology (automated measurements and in situ observations).

Fisheries Data Collection (DCF) cruises are used for fish stock assessments: IBTS, PELGAS, MEDITS, PELMED, EVHOE (and CGFS, if officially certified).

IFREMER also contributes to the structuring of biodiversity research in the French scientific community as a founding member of the FRB.