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Special Report 26/2020: Marine environment: EU protection is wide but not deep

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Marine biodiversity and habitat loss is an ongoing challenge for Europe’s seas. In this report, we examine how this challenge is addressed by key EU policies and spending programmes in parts of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

While a framework is in place to protect the marine environment, EU actions have not restored seas to good environmental status nor fishing to sustainable levels in all seas. EU protection rules have not led to the recovery of significant ecosystems and habitats; Marine Protected Areas provide limited protection; provisions to coordinate fisheries policy with marine protection policy are little used in practice; and relatively few of the available funds are used for conservation measures.

While there has been measurable improvement in fish stocks in the Atlantic, this is not the case in the Mediterranean.

We make recommendations to the Commission to address these issues, together with the Member States.

ECA special report pursuant to Article 287(4), second subparagraph, TFEU.