Foras na Mara

Marine Strategy Framework Directive

The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) is European legislation, which aims to protect the marine environment. It requires the application of an ecosystem-based approach to the management of human activities, enabling a sustainable use of marine goods and services.  

In order to implement the Directive each member state is required to: 

  • describe what they consider is a clean, healthy and productive sea i.e. Good Environmental Status  
  • monitor and assess the quality of their seas against Good Environmental Status, and
  • ensure they take appropriate action by 2020 to maintain or achieve Good Environmental Status.

This three step process started in 2012, and is repeated every six years.  The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG) is the lead body for the implementation of the MSFD and is supported by a number of other departments and state agencies, including we the Marine Institute (MI).  Progress to date, includes the initial assessment describing the 2012 status of Ireland’s marine environment. View summary report

Link to Ireland's Marine Atlas

We provide technical and scientific support and advice to the DECLG and Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) on the implementation, particularly in the areas of monitoring and assessing biodiversity, foodwebs, commercial fish, seafloor integrity, eutrophication and contaminants in the marine environment.

Ireland’s Marine Atlas (right) was developed to assist the implementation of the MSFD, as well as the 2014 Marine Spatial Planning Directive and is a valuable source of spatial information for all marine stakeholders.  The atlas contains information of the marine environment and its ecosystems as well as on the location of various human activities and installed infrastructure.