The European Union and the Ocean 2014-2019: our review


Europe owns the vastest worldwide maritime territory and has nearly half of its population living on the coastline, it seems undeniable that the European Union (EU) plays a major role in the fight against damage and pollution that affect the Ocean and the European coasts. That is why Surfrider Foundation Europe created a report on the decisions and actions adopted by the EU during the parliamentary mandate of 2014-2019.

The joint report

Surfrider Foundation Europe united with the NGO Seas At Risk to create the report called “An Overview of EU Action to Protect the Ocean in 2014-2019”. This report has the objective to give an overview of the measures taken at the European level these last five years on 4 important issues: protection and restoration of marine ecosystems, decrease of marine pollution, reduction of offshore extraction activity’s impacts and decrease of maritime transportation impact on climate.

The report assesses the improvements accomplished by the EU to guarantee the good health of seas and oceans, as well as all the efforts that still need to be done. This document compares the different actions with the priorities that came up from the consultation organised by Surfrider in 2018, « Voice for the Ocean ».

The EU commits

Through new environmental laws and the Directive Executive Strategy for the marine environment, the EU assured a position as a key-actor for marine environment protection. Among the 4 main, we can see start to see the improvements.

The EU took a firm grip on the issues of waste awareness coming from boats and land-based activities thanks to the European strategy on plastic matter, the directive on single-use plastics and fishing gear, and on Port Reception Facilities. This will all only become reality when all member states adopt these measures.

Also, the European Parliament called for a strict moratorium about the offshore drilling in vulnerable maritime zones such as the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which the other EU institutions shall talk about from now until 2020. Surfrider actively follows this measure that would be an important step and advance for conservation of marine ecosystems.

Voluntary member states

Unfortunately, the EU volunteer adoption of policy for member states collide too often with a lack of ambition and commitment at a national level. The adopted measures by member states remain insufficient to reach the “Good Environmental Status” of EU seas by 2020 as set In the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

The recurring failure of national governments to transform an act or to lead with ambition the European legislation is one of the main reasons why the EU do not fully keep its promises.

A global and coordinated action is missing to lead member statesto act.. And it is only us, that can help them to commit by the right vote. Please, Vote For The Ocean!

Read the report

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our values


The passion for the oceans, the coastline and the pleasures animate everyone who supports Surfrider and guides the organization's action.


Surfrider is rooted in the value of sharing and participation through inclusion and diversity.


Surfrider seeks a harmonious relationship between humans and nature.