The implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive: Shortcomings and limitations from the Spanish point of view
The Marine Strategy Framework (Directive 2008/56/EC, MSFD) came into force in 2008, confirming the increased political interest in the oceans observed in recent years, and the change in the philosophy of environmental management, which has resulted in the development of many initiatives to guide the conservation, protection and sustainable management of marine ecosystems. This Directive is the key environmental instrument of the European Union (EU) maritime policy, and establishes that Member States shall adopt the necessary measures to achieve or maintain the Good Environmental Status of the marine environment by 2020. The central part of the MSFD is formed by the ‘marine strategies’, which have to be developed by the Member States for the marine waters under their jurisdiction. The implementation of the MSFD represents a demanding task in the integrative assessment of marine ecosystems. Here we describe the implementation process, and we discuss the institutional framework and the main difficulties and challenges encountered so far, with emphasis on the Spanish context.