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Step 4

Implementation of programmes of measures

MSFD requirements

Competent authorities must ensure that programmes of measures are fully operational by 2016. Where justification exists for not achieving GES within the timetable (because measures need international action, result in disproportionate costs or for reasons of overriding public interest) countries must still take measures to prevent further deterioration and must ensure GES is not permanently compromised.

Implementation in the Celtic Sea project area

Some measures that contribute to the targets identified in Step 1 are already in place, or are planned,) under existing policy mechanisms; any additional actions shouldl be included in the programmes of measures and implemented by 2016.

Implementation is a critically important step requiring clear identification of the actions required, as well as mechanisms to ensure compliance. It is also important to clarify who is responsible for implementing measures. Enforcement processes usually include inspections, compliance monitoring, negotiations and legal action, where necessary.

“The public sector these days hasn’t got the sort of financial resources needed to implement these sorts of measures. It leaves us, the stakeholders, to develop and deliver them. This ensures that we get buy-in of all stakeholders into this process and means we can evaluate that measures are actually feasible to deliver in the first place.” (Marine leisure sector)

How stakeholders could be affected by this step

Many stakeholders will need to implement measures. A general trend towards enhanced monitoring, mitigation and remediation requirements is also likely in all sectors. Stakeholders who implement measures will incur costs, through expenditures on measures and through impacts on business activity. Stakeholders may also gain benefits from implementing measures from reduced operating costs and enhanced business performance and market-share.

Stakeholders might be affected by the implementation of measures and other policy mechanisms by government, particularly marine protected areas, changes proposed under the reformed CFP, and any marine spatial planning initiatives, all of which have the potential to influence when, where and how they operate.

If stakeholders feel that the measures are not fair or affordable, they may not comply with them. Non-compliance could result in fines and/or other sanctions being imposed. Involving stakeholders in the development, evaluation and implementation of measures may help to avoid this situation, which is undesirable for stakeholders and government.

Communication and education are needed to raise awareness of the value of the ecosystem approach and the importance of sustainable marine practices among government, marine industry and the general public.

Stakeholders may be able to obtain funding to help offset the costs of measures (e.g. EC financial instruments such as those under IMP and EMFF).

Box 10: Funding to help implement measures

The new European Marine and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) 2014-2020 is an EU financial mechanism to contribute to the implementation of the reformed CFP and the Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP). There is no European funding stream specifically for MSFD implementation since delivery is the responsibility of member States. However, the EMFF can be used for co-financing MSFD measures. This fund is particularly devoted to pre-agreed measures in the operational programmes (to improve fishing boats, to compensate for fishing boats’ dismantling, subsidies to support familiar inshore fishing, etc.) and to manage fisheries’ marine reserves.

Depending on how each country decides to implement it, there are possibilities to co-finance small local initiatives for the sustainable development of fisheries grounds. For example, in Spain the national government decided to allow for the establishment of fishery local action groups. Each group has a participatory committee composed of local stakeholders that define the measures to be co-financed, according to the local needs and requests.

Other EU funds available to NGOs, research bodies and private companies to implement MSFD measures are the INTERREG and LIFE+. INTERREG, for transnational projects, includes a priority objective to ‘Protect and promote natural spaces, water resources and coastal zones’ (see www.coop-atlantico.com). LIFE+ has a long tradition of supporting nature, biodiversity and environmental projects relevant to coast, seas and fisheries (ec.europa.eu/environment/life/themes/seas/thematic.htm).

In addition, other kinds of financial sources such as national and local government grants, corporate social responsibilities of large companies, private foundations, trusts and charities are also available.

How stakeholders can influence this step

As in Step 3, stakeholders are likely to need to implement measures to help meet the targets of the MSFD. They can enhance the sustainability of their activities and help meet targets by proactively developing and implementing measures in their own sector.

Stakeholders can also help to encourage sustainable practices and compliance with measures in other sectors, e.g. through education, providing information, developing codes of conduct, and self-regulation. Information-sharing through collaborative working can help this process (e.g. through participation in multi-sector forums).

Stakeholders may also become involved in enforcement by detecting non-compliance within their sector, identifying and negotiating with violators, commenting on government enforcement actions or initiating legal action themselves.

In addition, certain industries (such as the banking and insurance industries) might be indirectly involved in enforcement – e.g. by requiring compliance with certain environmental requirements before issuing a loan or insurance policy to a marine business.

PISCES recommendations

Stakeholders should...

  • Continue to develop and implement voluntary measures, and encourage others to do the same, in order to help meet targets sooner and alleviate the need for further regulation.
  • Ensure sharing of information on relevant technological advances and initiatives through appropriate channels, e.g. newsletters, websites, stakeholder forums.
  • Identify ways to assist in ensuring compliance.
  • Secure opportunities for financing/co-financing measures in order to offset costs to industry.

Governments should...

  • Ensure marine strategies identify actions required to implement and enforce measures and ensure compliance. Communicate clearly, with genuine opportunities for two-way exchanges, in order to increase compliance and support.
  • Raise awareness of the benefits of the ecosystem approach and sustainable marine practices among government, marine industry and the general public.
  • Recognise the role and benefits of stakeholders assisting in ensuring compliance and support delivery.
  • Help stakeholders secure financing/co-financing options and support proposals.

Crab fishing boat