Title: Gaps and needs in the implementation of MSFD Descriptor 8: the selection of an appropriate core set of contaminants for monitoring
Publisher: Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Europe (SETAC Europe)
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC97747
ISSN: 2309-8031
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC97747
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) is the policy framework for protection of the European Seas. The input of contaminants into the marine environment is considered under MSFD descriptor 8 as one of the anthropogenic pressures which needs to be assessed by EU Member States. By 2012, the first substantial steps in the implementation of the directive were taken, including the preparation of the first phase of the national marine strategies, i.e. Initial Assessment, Determination of Good Environmental Status (GES), and Setting Environmental Targets and Indicators. The European Commission Joint Research Centre (EC JRC) in-depth assessment of the Member State’s submissions for the MSFD and the subsequent discussions within the MSFD Expert Network on Contaminants have allowed the identification of gaps and needs regarding the MSFD implementation. The main identified contaminant-related issues are the selection of the chemical pollutants and best matrices for monitoring and the quantitative criteria for GES assessment. Moreover, the importance of designing monitoring programs compatible and integrated with the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) and Regional Sea Conventions (RSCs) has also been stressed, along with the need to cover open and deep sea areas in an appropriate, representative and efficient way. These results can help to make suggestions for improvement in the next phase of MSFD implementation. For example, it has been suggested that harmonization within the EU might be improved by selecting an appropriate core set of contaminants of concern and ensuring they are well covered and monitored by all countries. While land-based issues shall be tackled by the WFD, the marine environment needs, within the MSFD, provisions which go beyond the WFD. Additional sources of information on pollutants in the marine environment should therefore be exploited, and quality standards and monitoring approaches made more consistent. Hence, the EC JRC is compiling information on all chemical contaminants which are released at sea and can potentially cause harm to the marine wildlife, in particular emerging pollutants which derive from new or growing human activities. These include e.g. shipping, resource exploitation, aquaculture and historical dumping. This information would complement efforts done under the WFD and so, support the establishment of an appropriate and consistent coastal to open sea framework for MSFD Descriptor 8 implementation across Europe.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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