The marine environment is a precious heritage that must be protected, conserved and, where practicable, restored with the ultimate aim of maintaining biodiversity and providing diverse and dynamic oceans and seas which are clean, healthy and productive. Maintaining and achieving such conditions is essential to support sustainable use of the marine environment for this and future generations. These aims were laid down in Article 1 of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD – 2008/56/EC) and the Member States are required to develop marine strategies in accordance with Article 5 to achieve these aims. By 15 July 2012, Member States had to prepare the first elements of these strategies, namely the initial assessment (Article 8), the determination of good environmental status (GES – Article 9) and the establishment of environmental targets and associated indicators (Article 10) and to report them to the Commission by 15 October 20121. Based on these reports, the Commission had to “assess whether, in the case of each Member State, the elements notified constitute an appropriate framework to meet the requirements of this Directive…” (Article 12). Read the full document here.