Introduction The Habitats Directive aims to protect the biodiversity of the EU by taking measures to maintain or restore a favourable conservation status of a selected number of species and habitats of Community interest. The Birds Directive requires the protection of all naturally occurring wild bird species in the EU. A number of these habitat types and species occur in the marine environment and should therefore also benefit from measures introduced under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), whose coverage extends to all marine biodiversity. This Annex provides a summary of the areas of overlap.
Before looking at the species and habitat types it is worth clarifying the extent to which the geographical scope of the three directives overlap.
The MSFD applies to all 'marine waters' of Member States, as defined in Art.3(1), i.e. including, where claimed, Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) and extended Continental Shelf areas. MSFD marine waters include 'coastal waters' as defined under the Water Framework Directive; however 'transitional waters' under the WFD are excluded from the MSFD.
The Habitats and Birds Directives apply in the whole European territory of the Member States. In terms of marine areas, this means they apply to all marine waters where Member States exercise jurisdictional rights and thus cover the same geographical area as the MSFD. However, the Habitats and Birds Directives also apply to 'transitional waters' of the WFD which are not covered under the MSFD.
Species and habitats listed in the Birds and Habitats Directive that depend for all or some of their life cycle on the marine waters under the scope of MSFD have been identified in the following sections. Some of these, however, may primarily depend upon transitional waters, whilst others that are not listed may need further consideration as they may still be shown to depend on marine waters for part of their life cycle.
Figure 1: The marine regions for Article 17 reporting under the Habitats Directive1