The aim of the proposed Marine Policy Framework (Amendment) Regulations, 2018 is to transpose the obligations arising from Commission Directive (EU) 2017/845 of 17 May 2017 mending Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the indicative lists of elements to be taken into account for the preparation of marine strategies. The former Directive replaces Annex III of the original Directive 2008/56/EC.

Directive 2008/56/EC was transposed into national law through the Marine Policy Framework Regulations (S.L 549.62). The former Directive establishes a framework within which Member States shall take the necessary measures to achieve or maintain good environmental status in the marine environment by the year 2020 at the latest. Annex III of the Directive, transposed through Schedule II of S.L 549.62, contains an indicative lists of  haracteristics, pressures and impacts which Member states are obliged to take into consideration when assessing, monitoring, and establishing environmental targets and programmes.

After notification of the first cycle of implementation of their marine strategies, the EU Commission held that more efforts were urgently needed if Member States and the Union are to reach good environmental status by 2020. Therefore, in order to ensure that the second cycle yields more positive results, Annex III of Directive 2008/56/EC was revised to ensure a more coherent and consistent approach for assessments. Directive (EU) 2017/845 replaced Annex III with an updated indicative list of ecosystem elements, anthropogenic pressures and human activities relevant to the marine waters. The Marine Policy Framework Regulations thus require an amendment to cater for this.


The proposed Marine Policy Framework (Amendment) Regulations, 2018 replace Schedule II of S.L 549.62, which corresponds to the updated Annex III in Directive 2017/845. The new Schedule is entitled “Indicative lists of ecosystem elements, anthropogenic pressures and human activities relevant to the marine waters”.

The revision of Annex III was deemed necessary to complement the revised Commission Decision 2017/848/EU which stipulates criteria for assessment of Good Environmental Status. For this purpose, the updated Tables 1 and 2 of Schedule II directly link the elements listed in them with the qualitative descriptors laid down in Schedule I and provide a list of parameters and characteristics that would facilitate application of the criteria in the revised Commission Decision. There is also a clearer distinction between state and pressures, as well as an additional list of uses and human activities which may affect the marine environment. This ensures a comprehensive approach towards the assessment of status in the marine environment through consideration of the links across drivers, pressures, impacts and state. The revised Schedule also indicates which uses/activities need to be subject to the economic and social analysis of the use of marine waters.


The draft Marine Policy Framework (Amendment) Regulations, 2018, are available from the following link.

Comments will be received by email on [email protected], from July 5, 2018, for a period of 4 weeks, ending on August 2, 2018.

Marine Policy Framework (Amendment) Regulations, 2018
MT – Regolamenti tal-2018 dwar Qafas fil-Politika Ambjentali tal-Baħar
Post Consultation Brief.docx