Generally, standardised methods are relevant to monitoring programmes. The WFD works on the standardisation of such methods, which should be also considered for the MSFD, where relevant. The use of ISO method 16665 (2005): (Water quality – Guidelines for quantitative sampling and sample processing of marine soft-bottom macrofauna) can be proposed for the MSFD. 

The report 'Development of a shared data and information system between the EU and the Regional Sea Conventions' (presented in WG DIKE, CIRCABC) examines the data and information of each of the four Regional Sea Conventions (RSCs) as well as the European Environment Agency (EEA), with the aim of characterising them and the flow processes in place across Europe. The aim is to evaluate how these data could be used to support the reporting objectives of the MSFD and other related EU Directives. Table 3.6 of the report provides a comprehensive list of the parameters used or proposed by the RSCs for assessment of their biodiversity indicators in relation to the MSFD indicators for D1. This exercise is an important step for taking stock of the ongoing assessments and their parameters and aligning these parameters with the requirements of the MSFD. 

In principle, the set-up of the methodological standards for monitoring and assessing D1 components should be developed according to the following steps, in conjunction with the coordinated work of MSs through RSCs: 

1) Identify representative, threatened and functional groups for predominant and special habitats and species according to Table 1 of Annex III of the MSFD (plankton, macrophytes, invertebrates, fish, reptiles, mammals, birds and other regional important species groups). 

2) Establish a distribution and abundance sampling system for different groups, where not existing. 

3) Establish sampling stations to analyse the impact of local relevant pressures (by-catch, extraction, toxicities, etc. using Table 2 of Annex III). 

4) Develop thresholds or trends for each habitat or species category of the measured local analyses (assuming that the GES quantification has been adequately developed). 

5) Develop models for the effect of important pressures. 

6) Model the distribution of pressures and their effects on the relevant marine regions. 

7) Define GES or at least describe a range for a good and a bad ecological state or trend for each marine region. 

8) If appropriate, develop areal analyses of the distribution of good and bad ecological states in each marine region. 

These steps are indicative and may be adapted to the specific biodiversity elements.