Report 522
Marine Strategy Framework Directive Indicators for UK Rocky Shores
Burrows, M.T., Mieszkowska, N. & Hawkins, S.J.
The overall aim of this report was to develop several indicators of Good Environmental Status (GES) for UK intertidal rocky habitats for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) (2008/56/EC ).


The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) (Directive 2008/56/EC) was formally adopted by the European Union in July 2008. It forms the environmental pillar of the EU’s Integrated European Maritime Policy and compliments the economic and social aspects of this policy. The MSFD outlines a legislative framework for an ecosystem-based approach to the management of human activities that supports the sustainable use of marine goods and services. The overarching goal of the Directive is to achieve ‘Good Environmental Status’ (GES) by 2020 across Europe’s marine environment.

This report explores whether the approaches developed by the MarClim project to describe and measure responses to climate change can be adapted and employed to meet the challenge of describing Good Environmental Status as required by the MSFD. Potential relevant indicators are then proposed and validated using the MarClim database before recommendations are made on their use. 

There is a rich heritage of descriptive studies on British rocky shores that provide valuable baselines from the 1940s and 1950s against which to judge responses to climate such as shifts in ranges and changes in abundance of species plus more subtle phenological shifts. There are also valuable time-series assessments of key species such as barnacles that chart responses to climate fluctuations from the 1950s to the 1980s and, more recently, responses to rapid climate change since the late 1980s. This archive was exploited by the MarClim project which re-surveyed on a broad-scale and re-started time-series assessments.This past, and more recent, work is built on for the purpose of this contract.



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ISSN 0963 8091
Please cite as: Burrows, M.T., Mieszkowska, N. & Hawkins, S.J., (2014), Marine Strategy Framework Directive Indicators for UK Rocky Shores, JNCC Report 522, ISSN 0963 8091