Processes and activities under the implementation
In 2010, a task group of experts (TG6) coordinated by JRC and ICES laid down a framework of criteria and methodological standards to assess seafloor integrity under MSFD using a Descriptor based on eight components (Substrate, Bioengineers state, Oxygen Concentration, Contaminants and Hazardous Substances, Species Composition, Size Composition, Trophodynamics and Life History Traits).
In the first cycle of the MSFD implementation, Member States demonstrated very different perspectives, approaches and level of detail while defining GES and selecting criteria and indicators for Descriptor 6. Four Member States (FR, IT, LT, SI) have included an indicator on the percentage of area occupied by biogenic substrate acted upon by human pressures (Indicator 6.1.2). However, only one (IT) has associated this indicator with a quantitative threshold value for GES. Three Member States (LT, LV, SE) have included a quantitative indicator, the Benthic Quality Index, to measure Indicator 6.2.2. The need for a common understanding of methodological standards that permit achieving a coherent evaluation of environmental in each region/sub-region was a major highlight of the report. These and other conclusions are presented in the EU report concerning the in-depth assessment for Art. 8, 9 and 10.
List of key issues derived from the in-depth assessment for D1, 4 and 6, suggestions and potential actions to be dealt with.
The Directorate-General for the Environment (DG Environment) has started a review process of the Commission Decision 2010/477/EU which is being endorsed by the Member States through the MSFD implementation groups. The goal of this process is to develop guidance on commonly-agreed approaches and parameters permitting that each of the Descriptors is assessed in an effective, coherent and comparable way.
Based on its scientific expertise and experience with EU marine environment policy, the MCC is actively participating in the on-going discussions and administrative processes. In September 2014 a workshop brought together international experts in seafloor integrity to analyse the shortcomings of the current Decision and propose concrete guidance for amending it.
Three successive reports led by ICES and JRC, concerning the Descriptor 6 review needs are available:
Subsequent progress of the revision of the Commission Decision 2010/477/EU is detailed in the minutes and some preparatory documents to the following meetings:
Attention is naturally drawn to the minutes of the latest meetings and associated documents.