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In the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), four marine regions are listed (art. 4). The North-east Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea marine regions are both further divided into four subregions. The marine regions and subregions include:
The Baltic Sea
The North-east Atlantic Ocean
The Greater North Sea, including the Kattegat and the English Channel
The Celtic Seas
The Bay of Biscay and the Iberian Coast
The Mediterranean Sea
The Western Mediterranean Sea
The Adriatic Sea
The Ionian Sea and the Central Mediterranean Sea
The Aegean-Levantine Sea
The Black Sea
This map has been developed to support DG Environment and EU Member States in their implementation of the MSFD. It represents the current state of understanding of the marine regions and subregions and is subject to amendment in light of any new information which may be received.
The primary aim of this map is the geometric delineation of the marine regions and subregions. The secondary aim is to establish a common understanding of marine boundaries and thus aid the streamlining of obligations under EU legislation, e.g. coordination between Member States, work establishment of monitoring programmes, establishment of programmes of measures, EEA indicator and assessment efforts and ‘Research and Technological Development’ (RTD) initiatives to be as relevant as possible for policy processes aiming at implementing an ecosystem-based approach to management. Lastly, the map can aid the harmonization between regions as required under other EU legislation and policies, by Regional Sea Conventions, International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) Ecoregions and other regional delineations. The aim is not to pre-empt any official discussions on maritime boundaries under UNCLOS.
The delineation has been developed since 2010 based on multiple inputs from Member State representatives participating in groups defined under the MSFD Common Implementation Strategy, reporting under the MSFD Initial Assessment, ICES advice and Marine Regions. The process has especially been developed under the MSFD CIS Working Group on Data, Information and Knowledge Exchange (WGDIKE) through documents DIKE 3/2011/06 from 5-6thSeptember 2011, DIKE 4/2011/05 from 7-8thNovember 2011, DIKE 5/2012/08 from 12-13thMarch 2012, DIKE TG1/2012/04 from 4thJuly 2012 and, lastly, DIKE 6/2012/11 from 30-31th October 2012. Since then it has been developed through cooperation between DG ENV, EEA and the ETC-ICM (via ICES as an ETC-ICM partner) and a consultation with Member States in 2015. The map has also been through a Commission inter-service consultation with all DG’s led by DG ENV. It wasfinallyadopted by EU Member States in the MSFD Committee in November 2016.
The boundaries between marine regions and subregions have, to the extent possible, been harmonised with existing boundaries established under the Regional Sea Conventions, the biogeographic boundaries established under the Habitats Directive and the boundaries of marine waters reported by EU Member States under the MSFD. The ICES ecoregions are being aligned with the MSFD region and subregion boundaries.
The inner boundary of all regions and subregions has used the “EEA coastline for analysis” available at (http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/eea-coastline-for-analysis/); this is a practical solution because the MSFD inner boundary formally follows that defined for coastal waters under the Water Framework Directive, for which a consistent boundary is not yet available.
For delineating subregions in the North-east Atlantic Ocean region, information on Member States' marine waters, where Member States have and/or exercise jurisdictional rights, has been used, based on submissions of the marine waters under the MSFD when these have been made available by the individual Member States as part of their 2012 reporting.
Regarding the map symbology, the following notes have to be taken into account:
Note 1:The area shaded in purple and white indicates an area to which both the United Kingdom and the Government of the Kingdom of Denmark together with the Government of the Faroes have transmitted overlapping submissions to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) in fulfilment of their respective rights and obligations under Article 76 and Annex II to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in order to determine entitlement of outer continental shelf areas. This map should not be used in any way to prejudice the determination of that question by the CLCS in due course.
Note 2:The area shaded in black and white shows the delineation of the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 M from the territorial sea baselines of France, Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom in respect of the area of the Celtic Sea and the Bay of Biscay, as provided by the four countries to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) and included in its recommendations issued on 24 March 2009. The map of the continental shelf’s extent shall be used without prejudice to the agreements that will be concluded in due course between these Member States on their marine borders in this area.
Note 3: The seas of Azov and Marmara are shown as shaded as they do not fall within the geographic scope of application of the Bucharest Convention.
The link to the layers, as well as the document describingthe geometric delineation of the marine regions and subregionsandthe process that led to an agreement on the boundaries areavailable at the following link: http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/msfd-regions-and-subregions