Guidance on Monitoring
The establishment of a comprehensive and coordinated monitoring programme is essential for each EU Member State to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES), as required by the MSFD. In this context, "monitoring" refers to the systematic measurement of biotic and abiotic variables and properties that characterise the marine environment. The data collected is fed into consistent datasets that are then used to assess both the state of marine waters at (sub)-regional levels, and the efficiency of programmes of measures to reach or maintain GES.

The MCC partnership provides support to the development and revision of marine monitoring programmes through technical guidance documents or scientific reports, regularly analysing the state of play with respect to marine observations for each descriptor, and highlighting technical achievements and innovative approaches.

In 2014, the Member States will establish coordinated monitoring programmes. Article 11 of the MSFD states that monitoring programmes should be established and implemented on the basis of the initial assessment (Article 8(1)), the indicative lists of elements set out in Annexes III and V, and by reference to the environmental targets (Art. 10).
Methodological Standards
Data on the environmental status of the European seas must be collected and evaluated in accordance with established criteria and methodological standards. In order to be able to compare results, minimum requirements for harmonisation must be specified and adhered to.

An initial review of the available methodologies under the MSFD and related policy frameworks is available in the "Review of Methodological Standards Related to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive Criteria on Good Environmental Status" [EUR 24743 EN pdf].

The MCC aims to gather agreed methodologies for the different descriptors as they become available, and to provide links to the scientific background and current development of methodologies.