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Document 52015DC0481

REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL on the progress in establishing marine protected areas (as required by Article 21 of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive 2008/56/EC)

COM/2015/0481 final

Brussels, 1.10.2015

COM(2015) 481 final

REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL

on the progress in establishing marine protected areas (as required by Article 21 of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive 2008/56/EC)


REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL

on the progress in establishing marine protected areas (as required by Article 21 of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive 2008/56/EC)

1.Introduction

Many marine species across Europe´s seas are experiencing a decrease in population size as well as a loss of distribution range and habitat due to impacts from human pressures 1 .

The United Nations have continuously voiced their concern about the health of oceans and marine biodiversity in the last two decades 2 . Under the Convention on Biological Diversity, the EU has committed to ensuring the conservation of 10% of its coastal and marine areas. This objective is also reflected in Sustainable Development Goal 14 to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development 3 .

The European Union adopted its Biodiversity Strategy in 2011 to halt biodiversity loss and the degradation of ecosystem services on its territory by 2020. The Habitats Directive 4 requires the establishment of special areas of conservation, including coastal and marine habitats. In addition, the EU's Marine Strategy Framework Directive 5 (MSFD) focuses on protecting marine biodiversity in particular.

 

The MSFD requires Member States to adopt Programmes of Measures 6 to achieve good environmental status in their marine waters 7 by 2020. The Programmes of Measures shall include spatial protection measures contributing to coherent and representative networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) 8 . Marine protected areas are a measure used across Europe’s seas for protecting vulnerable species and habitats. More precisely, they are:

-geographically defined marine areas;

-whose primary and clearly stated objective is nature conservation;

-and which are regulated and managed through legal or other effective means to achieve this objective 9 .

It has been demonstrated that well-managed European marine protected areas have positive ecological effects. In marine reserves with high protection, species density 10 increased an average of 116%, biomass of plants and animals increased on average 238%, body size of animals increased 13% and species richness by 19% 11 .

By contributing to maintaining healthy and sustainable seas and oceans, effectively managed MPAs also support services that seas and oceans provide. The role of marine protected areas therefore goes beyond nature conservation, as they create economic benefits to society – they are the green foundations on which the blue economy is built. For example, the overall benefits generated by the marine Natura 2000 network were estimated to reach approximately 1.5 billion EUR per year in 2011. These benefits could increase to 3.2 billion EUR if the marine Natura 2000 coverage doubled 12 .

MPAs generate socioeconomic benefits in various ways. By increasing the biomass of species, MPAs can contribute to rebuilding fish stocks 13 . Evidence shows that the positive effects of MPAs spill over to neighbouring fisheries. For instance, setting up the Columbretes Islands Marine Reserve in Spain increased catches in surrounding fisheries by about 10% a year 14 .

Clean water, healthy habitats and abundant marine biodiversity are also one of the foundations of coastal and marine tourism. MPAs can become major tourist attractions boosting coastal and marine economies 15 . Tourism in the catchment of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and World Heritage Area in Australia generated approximately $6.4 billion in direct expenditure, $5.2 billion value-added and an equivalent of more than 64,000 full time jobs in 2012 16 .

Finally, by improving the health of the marine environment, MPAs can strengthen other marine ecosystem services, such as waste assimilation, coastal protection and flood management 17 . The designation of a British network of MPAs was estimated to generate a monetary value of £8.2 billion for gas and climate regulation and £1.3 billion for nutrient cycling 18 .

The present report takes stock of the progress made by Member States in establishing MPAs by the end of 2012, as required by Article 21 of the MSFD. Based on the work done by the European Environment Agency (EEA) on assessing the network of European MPAs, the report looks at the progress made on the establishment of marine protected areas by Member States (section 2) before examining the coherence and representativity of MPA networks, as required by Article 13(4) (section 3). The last section provides an outlook for the work which remains to be done. Two technical annexes are attached to the report which defines the terminology used in the report, provides the European and international legal context of the establishment of MPAs, and contains tables illustrating the figures used in the report.

2.Assessment of the progress made

The EEA will publish a report on European marine protected areas in 2015 19 . According to their assessment, Europe has made significant efforts in designating MPAs and establishing MPA networks since the entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1993 20 . At the end of 2012, 5.9% of European seas 21 were designated as MPAs, but large regional differences exist across Europe in MPA coverage. In three out of ten marine subregions MPA coverage was higher than 10%, while the proportion of MPAs stayed below 2% in two regional seas in 2012 22 (Table 1). Besides the regional differences, large differences were observed between MPA coverage in coastal and offshore waters (Table 2). It should be noted that MPA coverage has further increased since 2012, as some Member States have designated a significant number of MPAs.

The EEA report differentiates between three types of MPAs in Europe: marine Natura 2000 sites, MPAs designated under Regional Sea Conventions, and individual national MPAs. It should be noted that the three types of MPAs may overlap (i.e., a given site or part of it may be designated under more than one regime), follow different designation processes and are subject to different legal requirements.

2.1 Marine Natura 2000 sites

The marine Natura 2000 network is a major success as it is the largest single contributor to European MPAs in terms of coverage. At the end of 2012 it covered more than 228 000 km² equalling more than 4% of Europe's seas. Natura 2000 coverage, however, varied across marine regions. In the Greater North Sea and the Baltic Sea, marine Natura 2000 sites covered nearly 18% and 12% of the waters respectively. In other regions, such as the Ionian Sea, Adriatic Sea and Macaronesia, Natura 2000 coverage stayed below 2% 23 (Table 3).

Similarly, Natura 2000 coverage was much higher in coastal areas 24 . Natura 2000 sites covered 33.3% of near shore waters, 11.3% of coastal waters and only 1.7% of offshore waters 25 . Significant offshore features of the marine environment were therefore not yet covered by the Natura 2000 sites. At the same time, the Natura 2000 sites, underpinned by the Habitats Directive, provide a strong legal framework for the protection of the sites and the sustainable management of human activities therein, and coastal Member States have stepped up efforts to fill existing gaps.

2.2 MPA networks established under Regional Sea Conventions

MPA networks designated under Regional Sea Conventions significantly overlap with Natura 2000 and national MPA sites. Regional Sea Conventions, however, represent an important platform for Member States' cooperation to develop and implement an ecosystem-based approach to MPA designation and management. This makes RSCs one of the driving forces behind the expansion of the European MPA network 26 .

The Baltic Sea region was the first regional sea in Europe where coverage exceeded 10%. When HELCOM assessed its MPA network in 2010, coverage reached 10.3 %. In 2012 the MPA network in the Baltic Sea covered 12.4% of the assessment area 27 .

Significant progress can also be observed in certain areas of the North-east Atlantic Ocean. One of the examples for this is the Greater North Sea area whose MPA coverage is the highest in Europe (nearly 18%). On average MPAs covered 3.2% of the assessment area in the North-east Atlantic in 2012 28 .

In 2012 MPA coverage averaged at 9.7% in the EEA's assessment area in the Mediterranean Sea. The EEA was not able to assess MPA coverage in the Black Sea due to the lack of available data (Table 4).

2.3 National MPAs

Member States have also designated marine protected areas to protect features of national interest. These sites can feed into the Natura 2000 network, MPA networks under RSCs, or they can stand alone. The extent of convergence between MPA networks designated under different regimes varies from Member State to Member State, and averaged at 68.2% across Europe in case of national and RSC sites (i.e. more than two thirds of the total area covered by national and regional MPAs is designated under both regimes), and at 54.5% in case of national sites and Natura 2000 MPAs 29 . It was not possible to demonstrate that multiple designations increase protection levels for MPA sites.

3.Coherent and representative networks of marine protected areas

Currently no EU-wide method exists to assess the coherence and representativity of European MPA networks. Regional Sea Conventions, however, have played an important role in defining assessment criteria for MPA network coherence. OSPAR, HELCOM and the Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (RAC/SPA) established under the Barcelona Convention together with MedPAN in the Mediterranean have all assessed MPA network coherence.

OSPAR defines the ecological coherence of MPA networks along six criteria: features, representativity, replication, connectivity, resilience and adequacy/viability 30 . The first assessment of the OSPAR MPA network was carried out in 2010 and showed that it could not be considered ecologically coherent based on the spatial distribution of MPAs. In 2012 OSPAR attempted again to assess the ecological coherence of its MPA network, but could not arrive to comprehensive conclusions due to the scarcity of relevant distribution data on species and habitats. In 2012, only coarse assessments of the spatial arrangement of MPAs could be performed, which suggested that the OSPAR MPA network was unlikely to be ecologically coherent. However, the network showed the first signs of coherence in certain subregions, e.g. in the Greater North Sea, and to some extent also in the Celtic Seas 31 .

HELCOM identified four criteria for ecological coherence: adequacy, representativity, replication of features and connectivity. Despite the growing number of designated MPAs in its territory, HELCOM concluded in 2010 that MPA networks in the Baltic Sea had not yet reached ecological coherence 32 .

MedPAN-RAC/SPA assessed MPA network coherence in the Mediterranean based on two criteria: representativity and connectivity in 2012. This assessment concluded that the Mediterranean MPA network could not be considered either coherent or representative 33 . The Western Mediterranean was considered the best connected region in the Mediterranean.

As a first attempt to develop a common set of criteria and a methodology to assess the coherence and representativity of European MPA networks, external consultants prepared a study for the European Commission in 2014 34 . The study found that the MPA network in a test area in the Baltic Sea was not coherent. The Commission will continue working to further refine the methodology for EU-wide MPA network assessments.

4.Conclusions and outlook

Marine protected areas constitute essential spatial management tools for nature conservation. They can function as sanctuaries for the threatened biodiversity of our seas and oceans. By supporting the resilience of ecosystems, effective networks of MPAs create valuable benefits to society. These socioeconomic benefits include job creation, food provision, or climate regulation. MPAs are therefore a strong illustration of the convergence between the blue and green economy.

Since the entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1993, the European MPA network has significantly expanded to cover almost 6% of European seas in 2012. The present report is demonstrating the enormous progress which has been made in establishing MPAs in Europe. Since 2012 even more MPA sites have been designated 35 .Work will not stop here – further efforts will be made to ensure that at least 10% of Europe's seas are protected through coherent MPA networks 36 .

The objectives of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 are being increasingly implemented through the EU policy framework, which provides an excellent opportunity for the designation and integrated management of MPAs. The Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the Habitats and Birds Directives, the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive and the reformed Common Fisheries Policy all contain provisions which can foster the expansion of the European MPA networks in the coming years.

 

In order to fully deliver their potential, MPAs must include management measures 37 , and their effective monitoring and enforcement should be ensured. Management measures can include management plans for MPAs themselves, and spatial protection measures in neighbouring areas as a complementing tool to boost the effects of MPAs. MPAs should be an integral part of maritime spatial plans supporting the Green and Blue Infrastructure approach 38 to ensure and improve the delivery of multiple ecosystem services from the same area. This integrated approach is also essential to ensure that pressures across the seas are reduced and ecosystem resilience is therefore strengthened.

The Commission will continue supporting national and international efforts in relation to the designation and effective management of marine protected areas, as well as the implementation of other spatial protection measures for marine biodiversity. In particular, the Commission will:

 

support Member States in the effective and integrated implementation of the legislation in place through increased communication or guidance, e.g. in relation to Article 11 of the CFP;

foster common understanding of Article 13(4) of the MSFD;

further develop an EU methodology for the assessment of MPA network coherence and representativity;

support Member States, through existing EU financing mechanisms, in particular the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the LIFE Programme or through ongoing processes such as the Natura 2000 biogeographical process, to increase MPA designations, especially offshore and to effectively manage 39 MPAs;

promote inclusive governance structures for MPAs which enable wide stakeholder participation (e.g. local authorities, local communities, economic actors etc.) in MPA management;

where necessary, continue working on EU-level support mechanisms for the effective enforcement and control of MPA management measures;

promote research at a European level and support Member States' efforts to close existing data gaps hindering the effective management and assessment of MPAs 40 ;

contribute to determining the economic benefits from MPAs 41 by preparing studies and collaborating with international organisations such as the OECD;

ensure EU representation at negotiations on an implementing agreement to UNCLOS for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction 42 in order to make UNCLOS Art. 192 and 194(5) more operational in these areas.

The Commission will prepare the next progress report on the establishment of marine protected areas in the context of the MSFD implementation, i.e. the Commission report on the Programmes of Measures submitted by the Member States 43 . The present report will provide a baseline for this assessment. The progress made in establishing MPAs in Europe will also be assessed in 2019 when the Commission evaluates the first cycle of the implementation of the MSFD 44 . With a dedicated effort at all levels, it should be possible to meet the objectives set out in EU and international law and policies, and increase MPA coverage above 10% 45 by 2020 in Europe.

 

(1)

European Environment Agency (2015) State of the Environment Report. http://www.eea.europa.eu/soer-2015/europe/marine-and-coastal

(2)

 See for instance Agenda 21, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/Agenda21.pdf and UNGA Resolution A/RES/66/288 - The Future We Want of 27 July 2012 http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N11/476/10/PDF/N1147610.pdf?OpenElement  

(3)

UNGA Resolution A/69/L.85 of 12 August 2015, http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/69/L.85&Lang=E  

(4)

Directive 92/43/EEC

(5)

Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (Marine Strategy Framework Directive), OJ L 164, 25.6.2008.

(6)

MSFD Art. 13.

(7)

Marine waters are defined by MSFD (Art 3(1)).

(8)

MSFD Art. 13(4).

(9)

For a more detailed definition, please see the Annex p. 8.

(10)

Number of plants and animals in a given area.

(11)

Fenberg, P. B., et al. (2012) 'The science of European marine reserves: Status, efficacy, and future needs', Marine Policy 36(5), pp. 1012–1021.

(12)

European Commission (2013), 'The Economic Benefits of the Natura 2000 Network'. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/natura2000/financing/docs/ENV-12-018_LR_Final1.pdf  

(13)

Well-managed MPAs have been found to contain more than 5 times the total large fish biomass and 14 times the shark biomass compared with fished areas. Edgar, G. J. et al. (2014) 'Global conservation outcomes depend on marine protected areas with five key features', Nature 506, pp. 216–220.

(14)

Sala, E. (2012) 'Here is one great way to save fish – and the fishing industry' in Tackling Science Challenges, Harvard Business Review 85.

(15)

Australian Government, Department of Environment and Heritage (2003) 'The benefits of marine protected areas'. http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/5eaad4f9-e8e0-45d1-b889-83648c7b2ceb/files/benefits-mpas.pdf  

(16)

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (2014), 'Great Barrier Reef Region Strategic Assessment – Strategic Assessment Report'. http://elibrary.gbrmpa.gov.au/jspui/handle/11017/2861  

(17)

Potts at al. (2014) 'Do marine protected areas deliver flows of ecosystem services to support human welfare?', Marine Policy 44.

(18)

Hussain et al. (2010) 'An ex-ante ecological economic assessment of the benefits arising from marine

protected areas designation in the UK', Ecological Economics 69(4), pp. 828-838.

(19)

European Environmental Agency (2015) 'Marine Protected Areas in Europe's Seas – An overview and reflections on the way forward'.

(20)

The CBD requires its Parties to establish systems of protected areas. See Annex p. 10.

(21)

The EEA delineated the assessment area using a 200 nm limit from the coast or equidistance to non-EU countries except for Greece where a 6 nm limit was used. Marine protected areas exist beyond these boundaries, but they have not been included in the analysis. Similarly, marine protected areas protecting the abundant biodiversity in the outermost regions were excluded from the analysis due to the limited geographical scope of the MSFD. For more information, please see EEA (2015) 'Spatial analysis of Marine Protected Area Networks in Europe's Seas', pp. 1-2.

(22)

Data drawn from the Natura 2000 database and the Common Database on Designated Areas.

(23)

Since 2012, some Member States have established significantly more Natura 2000 sites further increasing MPA coverage in certain areas.

(24)

This is partly due to the initial terrestrial focus of the Habitats Directive and to the lack of knowledge of deep-sea habitats.

(25)

Near shore waters cover the 0-1 nm zone, coastal waters cover the 1-12 nm zone and offshore waters cover the 12 nm-end of assessment area zone. EEA (2015) 'Spatial Analysis of Marine Protected Areas in Europe's Seas'.

(26)

See MSFD Art. 5 and 6 on regional cooperation.

(27)

EEA (2015) 'Spatial Analysis of Marine Protected Areas in Europe's Seas'.

(28)

EEA (2015) 'Spatial Analysis of Marine Protected Areas in Europe's Seas'.

(29)

EEA (2015) 'Marine Protected Areas in Europe's Seas – An overview and reflections on the way forward'.

(30)

OSPAR (2006), 'Guidance on developing an ecologically coherent network of OSPAR marine protected areas', reference number 2006-3.

(31)

For more details on the criteria of ecological coherence and the findings, see Johnson D., et al. (2013) 'An assessment of the ecological coherence of the OSPAR Network of Marine Protected Areas in 2012'.

(32)

Boedeker D., et al. (2010) 'Towards an ecologically coherent network of well-managed Marine Protected Areas – Implementation report on the status and ecological coherence of the HELCOM BSPA network', Baltic Sea Environment Proceedings No. 124A.

(33)

Gabrié C., et al., (2012) 'The Status of the Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean Sea', MedPAN & RAC/SPA. Ed: MedPAN Collection.

(34)

Wolters H. A., et al., (2014), 'Proposal for an assessment method of the ecological coherence of networks of marine protected areas in Europe'. https://circabc.europa.eu/sd/a/b993ca97-579c-4aee-8e0e-22794682ac16/MPA%20coherence%20report-final.pdf  

(35)

E.g. by the end of 2014 Natura 2000 areas designated under the Habitats and Birds directives had increased to almost 320 000 km² compared to approximately 228 000 km² in 2012 – see http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/info/pubs/docs/nat2000newsl/nat37_en.pdf  

(36)

See Aichi Target 11 in point 2 of the Annex to this report.

(37)

Oceana (2014), 'Management matters: Ridding the Baltic Sea of paper parks'. http://eu.oceana.org/sites/default/files/oceana_ridding_the_baltic_sea_of_paper_parks.pdf  

(38)

For more information, see http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/ecosystems/index_en.htm  

(39)

The Commission has funded various research projects in this field (see for instance MESMA, http://www.mesma.org/ ).

(40)

See for instance the European Marine Board's position paper no. 18 'Achieving Ecologically Coherent

MPA Networks in Europe: Science Needs and Priorities', April 2013.

http://www.esf.org/fileadmin/Public_documents/Publications/EMB_PP18_Marine_Protected_Areas.pdf  

(41)

Through a dedicated study.

(42)

The UN General Assembly has recently decided to launch intergovernmental negotiations in 2016 on an implementing agreement to UNCLOS for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in ABNJ (Resolution A/69/L.65 of 19 June 2015).

(43)

Member States shall submit their Programmes of Measures to the Commission by 31 March 2016.

(44)

MSFD Art. 20.

(45)

See Aichi Target 11 under point 2 of the Annex to this report.

Top

Brussels, 1.10.2015

COM(2015) 481 final

ANNEXES

to the

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council

on the progress in establishing marine protected areas (as required by Article 21 of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive 2008/56/EC)


Annex I

1. Terminology

The Marine Strategy Framework Directive does not define the terms "marine protected area" and "spatial protection measure". The objective of this section is to provide definitions which were used in the preparation of this report and will be applied in the context of the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive as well as other legislation.

1.1 Marine Protected Areas

In international law, Article 8 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) sets out the fundamental obligation for Parties to establish protected areas 1 . The definition of protected areas 2  in Article 2 of the Convention provides the basis of the definitions of protected areas and marine protected areas used by other international organisations, such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)  3 or the Regional Sea Conventions (RSC) 4 .

In the European Union protected areas are established under the Nature Directives (see Special Areas of Conservation under the Habitats Directive and Special Protected Areas under the Birds Directive). The definition of these areas 5 is in line with the CBD definition of protected areas, i.e. they are geographically defined, they have a clear conservation objective, and management measures shall be taken in their territory to achieve this objective.

 

Based on common elements of these definitions, the following criteria are proposed for the purpose of defining Marine Protected Areas in the context of the MSFD and all related EU policies 6 :

-they are geographically defined marine areas;

-whose primary and clearly stated objective is nature conservation;

-and are regulated and managed through legal or other effective means to achieve this objective.

1.2 Spatial protection measures

Target 11 of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 7 requires that "(…) 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures (…)". There exists, however, no internationally accepted definition of what is meant by "other effective area-based conservation measures".

The Marine Strategy Framework Directive as well as the Birds and Habitats Directives all foresee conservation measures outside protected areas in order to ensure the adequate protection of species and habitats, and to maximise the benefits from protected areas. The Marine Strategy Framework Directive talks explicitly about spatial protection measures 8 . The Habitats Directive foresees the establishment of a strict protection regime for species and sub-species listed in Annex IV of the Directive and protection measures for species and sub-species listed in Annex V 9 . Some of these measures are area-based (e.g. temporary or local prohibition of the taking of specimens in the wild and exploitation of certain populations, establishment of a system of licences for taking specimens or of quotas 10 etc.). The Birds Directive creates a similar structure 11 .

Therefore, spatial protection measures are defined following the logic of the MSFD and the Nature Directives, i.e. that spatial protection measures are a wider category than MPAs, and they play a supportive role in nature conservation. Hence, the term "spatial protection measures" is used for 12 :

-area-based conservation measures

-that do not meet the criteria of marine protected areas, either because conservation is not their primary objective, or because their objective focuses on a particular activity or sector in order to protect part of the ecosystem.

In this sense, certain fisheries management measures which have conservation aspects fall under the definition of spatial protection measures. Such fisheries management measures may include special fishing permits or bans on specific fishing gears 13 for specific areas to protect for example vulnerable marine ecosystems or sea grass meadows or certain conservation measures adopted under Article 7 of the Common Fisheries Policy 14 .

Certain measures to be taken under the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive might also be considered as spatial protection measures, as one of the objectives of maritime spatial plans is the protection and improvement of the environment.

2. Relevant EU and international law

The MSFD 15 aims to ensure the integration of environmental concerns into the different policies, agreements and legislative measures which have an impact on the marine environment 16 . This section will therefore draw up an inventory of EU legislation and international law affecting the establishment of MPAs under the MSFD.

EU legislation

1.Habitats 17 and Birds Directives 18 : foresee designation of protected areas which form a coherent European ecological network (Natura 2000 network) 19 and are subject to strong protection and management requirements in order to achieve Favourable Conservation Status for the EU's most vulnerable habitats and species.

 

2.Common Fisheries Policy: its recently reformed Basic Regulation provides for the adoption of conservation measures in line with the objectives of the MSFD and the Habitats and Birds Directives 20 . It also allows for the establishment of protected areas of biological sensitivity 21 . In addition, fishing protected areas can be established under the regulation concerning management measures for the sustainable exploitation of fishery resources in the Mediterranean Sea 22 .

3.Water Framework Directive 23 : applies to inland transitional waters, but its provisions are highly relevant for MPAs in near-shore waters which are rich in spawning and nursery grounds and therefore important from a conservation point of view.

4.Maritime Spatial Planning Directive 24 : MPAs will form part of maritime spatial plans established under the Directive.

International dimension

1.United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: requires that Parties take measures to protect and preserve the marine environment in general, and rare or fragile ecosystems, the habitat of depleted, threatened or endangered species and other forms of marine life in particular 25 .

2.Convention on Biological Diversity: aims to halt biodiversity loss, ensuring the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity. Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 26 aims to conserve 10% of coastal and marine areas through "effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures". This target has become a global commitment through its inclusion in the Rio+20 outcome document "The Future We Want" 27 and in the proposed goal for oceans 28 in the Post-2015 Development Agenda being negotiated at the UN. Also under the CBD, ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) are being described for their important contribution in supporting the healthy functioning of the oceans, and in recognition of their potential need for some kind of protection. Some 200 EBSAs have been described during regional workshops around the world and have been approved by the Conference of the Parties for inclusion in the CBD EBSA "repository". It is up to states and competent intergovernmental organisations to decide on any management and protection measures for those areas or parts thereof, including by designating them as MPAs.

3.    Regional Seas Conventions: aim to improve regional governance for the protection of the marine environment. Four RSCs cover the marine waters in the scope of the MSFD: OSPAR for the North East Atlantic, HELCOM for the Baltic Sea, the Barcelona Convention for the Mediterranean and the Bucharest Convention for the Black Sea. All four RSCs have been active in establishing MPAs and assessing MPA network coherence 29 .



Annex II

Tables

Table 1 - Coverage of marine protected areas in European Seas (2012) 30

 

Table 2 – Percentage cover of marine protected areas in European Seas in the 0-1 nm, 1-12 nm and 12 nm-end of assessment area zones (2012) 31

Table 3 - Coverage of Natura 2000 (N2K) network in Europe´s regional seas (2012) 32

Table 4: Total surface area, percentage cover of RSC sites in MPA assessment area, and overlap with the EU Natura 2000 (N2K) network (2012) 33 .

(1)

This obligation applies to areas under State sovereignty and jurisdiction.

(2)

"'Protected area' means a geographically defined area which is designated or regulated and managed to achieve specific conservation objectives". Convention on Biological Diversity (1992), article 2.

(3)

See definition in IUCN (2008), 'Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories', p. 8.

(4)

For definitions see OSPAR (2003), 'Recommendation on a Network of Marine Protected Areas 2003/3', article 1.

HELCOM (2013), 'Overview of the status of the network of Baltic Sea marine protected areas', p. 7.

Art. 4,6 and 7 of the Protocol to the Barcelona Convention concerning specially protected areas and biological diversity in the Mediterranean (1999).

(5)

Habitats Directive, Art. 1(l) and Birds Directive, Art. 4.

(6)

See point 2 of Annex.

(7)

Convention on Biological Diversity (2010), COP 10, Annex to Decision X/2.

(8)

See article 13(4) of the MSFD.

(9)

See articles 12-16 of the Habitats Directive.

(10)

Habitats Directive, Art. 14.

(11)

See Birds Directive, Art. 5.

(12)

See document 'Programmes of measures under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive – Recommendations for implementation and reporting', 25 November 2014. https://circabc.europa.eu/w/browse/0ee797dd-d92c-4d7c-a9f9-5dffb36d2065  

(13)

See for instance Council Regulation (EC) No 734/2008 of 15 July 2008 on the protection of marine ecosystems in the high seas from the adverse impacts of bottom fishing gears.

(14)

See article 7 paragraph 1 (a) (b) (h) (i) and paragraph 2 (c) (d) (e) of the Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy.

(15)

MSFD Art. 1.

(16)

 Regarding the general interactions between the MSFD, EU policies and international agreements, see the Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the Contribution of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC) to the implementation of existing obligations, commitments and initiatives of the Member States or the EU at EU or international levels in the sphere of environmental protection in marine waters, COM (2012) 662, 16 November 2012.

(17)

Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, O.J. L 206, 22.7.1992.

(18)

Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds, OJ L 103, 25/04/1979.

(19)

Habitats Directive, Art. 3.

(20)

Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Common Fisheries Policy, Art. 11.

(21)

Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Common Fisheries Policy, Art. 8 on fish stock recovery areas.

(22)

Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006 of 21 December 2006.

(23)

Directive 2000/60/EC establishing a framework for the Community action in the field of water policy

(24)

Directive 2014/89/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning. Article 8 of the MSP Directive calls on Member States to integrate activities related to nature and species conservation sites and protected areas into their maritime spatial plans.

(25)

UNCLOS Art. 192 and 194 (5).

(26)

Part of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, adopted by Parties to the CBD in 2010 (UNEP/CBD/COP/DEC/X/2).

(27)

UNGA Resolution 66/288 of 27 July 2012 – The Future We Want, Paragraph 177.

(28)

See Goal 14 in UNGA A/68/970 of 12 August 2014 – Report of the Open Working Group of the General Assembly on Sustainable Development Goals.

(29)

See sections 2.2 and 3 of this report.

(30)

EEA (2015) 'Spatial Analysis of Marine Protected Areas in Europe's Seas'.

(31)

Adapted from Table 3.8 in EEA (2015) 'Spatial Analysis of Marine Protected Areas in Europe's Seas'.

(32)

European Environmental Agency (2015) 'Marine Protected Areas in Europe's Seas – An overview and reflections on the way forward'.

(33)

Adapted from Table 3.4 in EEA (2015) 'Spatial Analysis of Marine Protected Areas in Europe's Seas'.

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