Task groups
This report presents the findings of the task group addressing Descriptor 9 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.
In-depth assessment
List of key issues derived from the in-depth assessment for D8 and D9, suggestions and potential actors.

Issues on reporting


Potential actors

Wide heterogeneity in the kind of information reported.

Common understanding on the kind of data needed and should be collected.

Expert network

High variability in the way of presenting the data.

Establishment of a harmonized, concise and well-organized report delivery process adapted to the identified requirements.


Significant differences in the information contained in the two pathways of information within the same country.

Report through one pathway in electronic format.


Difficulties to understand whether information is missing or it has not been reported.

Allow through reporting process a clear identification of lack of data.


Issues on methodologies


Potential actors

Inconsistencies in methodological approaches, thresholds and limits.

Common agreed identification of appropriate and comparable approaches and parameters to ensure a minimum level of coherence. Ensure common understanding, providing rules and guidance.

MS, RSC, Expert network

Inconsistencies in technical issues among MS and marine regions, and also within the same country.

Agreement on details such as contaminant quantification, units of reporting, sampling strategy, and frequency. Alignment with WFD CIS.

MS, Expert network

Scarcity of data in sources of contaminants, biological effects and pollution events.

Development of common understanding, rules and guidance. Increase efforts to access these data. Alignment with WFD CIS.

MS, RSC, Expert network

Spatial inconsistency within and among MS regarding coastal-offshore data.

Assessment of both coastal and offshore water with clear boundaries and appropriate thresholds. Synergies in the definition of scales and possible common monitoring strategies. Alignment with WFD CIS

MS, Expert network

Issues on implementation


Potential actors

Inconsistencies with WFD

Improvement of alignment with WFD.


Low integration between marine regions and neighbouring countries.

Implementation of regionally coordinated strategies. Information exchange and efficient collaboration among regions.

MS, expert network, RSC exchange platform

Conceptual problems in the interpretation of criteria and indicators.

Development of concrete definitions and guidance to facilitate the interpretation of those issues and terms that have been found to be unclear.

Expert network

Definitions of GES and environmental targets often not consistent, specific and measurable.

Coherence in reporting GES and targets and establishment of measurable thresholds and goals to accurately assess their achievement.

MS, Expert network

Little consideration of link between MSFD and Food safety legislation.

Development of common understanding, establishing contacts.

Expert network, Food safety authorities in MS

Review of the Commission Decision 2010/477/EU
The review of the Com. Dec. 2010/477/EU for Descriptor 9 has been performed by the MSFD Expert network on Contaminants, led by the MCC. The first phase of the review process allowed the compilation of all necessary information to detect possible shortcomings, inconsistencies and gaps. These findings served as the basis for discussions during the second phase of the review process in order to shape the final conclusions and recommendations.