EU criticised for ‘shocking’ lack of effort protecting marine environment

The EU will not be able to achieve its target of delivering “good environmental status” for all its waters by 2020 because of a lack of commitment from member states.


That is according to analysis of a European Commission report by environmental lawyers at ClientEarth, which highlight a “shocking” lack of effort by EU countries in preventing ocean degradation.

All 23 member states with a coastline were required to produce action reports under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive by March 2016, yet Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Romania and Slovenia failed to comply.

As a result, the commission concluded that the measures taken by EU countries are so far not sufficient to achieve good, healthy and productive seas by 2020, as set out by the directive.

ClientEarth lawyer, Klaudija Cremers, said: “It is shocking to see that member states still lack the ambition desperately needed to tackle the various threats that affect marine life and their habitats.

“The clock is ticking and now is the time to act to make sure we halt the further degradation of the oceans.”

The European Commission report measures "good environmental status" against actions taken to protect the marine environment from pollution, biodiversity loss and unsustainable fishing.

It was found that member states have relied on regional cooperation more than ever before, integrating a series of different national, EU and international policies to tackle overfishing for example.

The report also shows that one in four measures announced by EU countries have been developed specifically for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, and wouldn’t have been implemented otherwise.

However, it also shows that there was a lack of coordinated action taken by some member states, such as when tackling marine litter.

European commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said: “Member states have put a lot of effort to ensure that the seas’ resources are used and managed sustainably, relying a lot on regional cooperation.

“Unfortunately, despite these efforts, the measures taken so far are not yet sufficient to achieve good, healthy and productive seas by 2020.

“I therefore urge member states to take heed of the recommendations made by the commission to move a step closer to achieving this goal.”


Image credit: iStock


Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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