Governance strengths and weaknesses to implement the marine strategy framework directive in European waters
The ambitious Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) has been the focus of much marine research across Europe in the pursuit of achieving Good Environmental Status in the four European Union marine regions; Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and North-east Atlantic. This research addresses the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) of the current European marine governance structures and its relationship to implement the MSFD. Results of the SWOT analysis were acquired through a combination of approaches with MSFD experts and stakeholders including: 30 face-to-face interviews, an online survey with 264 stakeholder respondents and focus groups within each European marine region. The SWOT analysis concurrently identifies common strengths and weakness and key governance issues for implementing the MSFD for European marine regions. This paper forms one assessment within the governance component of the Options for Delivering Ecosystem Based Marine Management (ODEMM) project and presents timely issues that can be of benefit to national and European Union policy makers.