After almost two years of consultations and negotiations, the European Union has finally adopted new criteria defining what it means for our seas and ocean to be in Good Environmental Status. Seas At Risk and its members have been actively involved in this process and, with other European NGOs, have contributed to a more coherent set of criteria, increasing the chances of having a similar level of protection across European seas.

A major new study by the International Coalition for Clean Transportation has concluded that the environmental and economic risks of an oil spill of heavy fuel oil (HFO), are much higher than the savings associated with keeping using this fuel.to power ships in the Arctic

2017 is certainly putting oceans in the policy spotlight. In the build up to the UN Ocean conference and the Our Ocean conference, declarations by the Commission and statements by the Environmental Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee call for sustainable use of the oceans, highlight the importance of oceans for climate change, and re-affirm the EU’s commitment to enhancing ‘blue’ socioeconomic growth. The challenge will be to reconcile these often opposing ambitions.