Title: A Pan-European Delimitation of Coastal Waters: Compliance with EU Environmental Legislation
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2010
JRC N°: JRC62019
ISBN: 978-92-79-18907-4
ISSN: 1831-9424
Other Identifiers: EUR 24654 EN
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC62019
DOI: 10.2788/71030
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: The definition of coastal waters in relation to EU environmental legislation was clearly stated in the Water Framework Directive. In compliance with this Directive, most of the EU Member States delineated their coastal waters¿ boundaries. However, these delineations are not as complete and homogeneous as could be expected. A clear identification of European coastal waters boundaries is crucial for the implementation of the Water Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, which depend on an accurate ecological/environmental assessment of those waters. Hence, there is a need for a comprehensive and unambiguous delimitation of European coastal waters. This report aims at bridging this gap providing a pan-European mapping of coastal waters, which cover 553,817 km2 in 30 seaside countries, 340,524 km2 of which pertain to the 22 EU Member States connected to the sea. For this purpose, a comprehensive geographical analysis of the national baselines and transitional waters distribution was performed. A pan-European baseline of 63,340 km was delineated as a basis for the European coastal waters delimitation. The European coastal waters identified in this work show significant differences with the available national declarations (almost 12% of the compared area), the latter defining an additional area of 29,337 km2 with respect to the former. The largest deviations seem to be due to misinterpretations of the definition of coastal waters in the Water Framework Directive, although a number of one-sided national modifications to that definition are also observed. This work provides the geographical basis for a full consultation process and discussion about this subject. Our recommendations include setting a clear geographical limit between the Water Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive jurisdiction, revise the possible exemptions in the definition of coastal waters, and discuss their consequences in the assessment of ecological/environmental status.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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