Task Groups
In the preparatory phase of the MSFD implementation process, Task Groups of independent scientific experts were established for each descriptor with the aim of establishing the criteria and methodological standards that Member States would need to assess the state of their marine and coastal waters and to achieve Good Environmental Status. These Task Groups carried out their analyses and drafted their Reports in 2009 and 2010 in preparation for the Commission Decision on criteria and methodological standards on good environmental status of marine waters (2010/477/EU). The Reports provide guidance on the interpretation and application of each descriptor, addressing the key attributes and indicators, spatial and temporal scales, and methodological standards for its assessment.
The Report prepared by the Management group (Task Group chairs, and representatives of the JRC and the ICES) provides information on a number of issues that are common to all of the descriptors.

In-depth assessment

Complementing MSFD Article 12 notifications and Commission's assessment, an in-depth assessment of the Member States initial reports (Art. 8,9 and 10) was undertaken by the Joint Research Centre with the objectives

  • to evaluate the comparability and coherence of assessment methods with those conducted in the frame of other European and international legislations;
  • to provide recommendations for improved implementation of the MSFD in the second cycle (2018);
  • to support a possible revision of the Commission Decision on Criteria and Methodological Standards (2010/477/EU).

The evaluation was based on Member States initial reporting sheets and full reports, as well as the Article 12 assessment prepared for DG Environment by Milieu Ltd (consultant's report).

Review Commission Decision
In view of a possible revision in 2016, Decision 2010/477/EU on "criteria and methodological standards on good environmental status of marine waters" is currently undergoing a thorough review. The review process is led by the JRC and the ICES, with contributions from Member States (MS), as follows:


The review process is carred out according to the following roadmap: