Regional Sea Conventions

In Europe, there are four cooperation structures which aim to protect the marine environment and bring together Member States and neighbouring countries that share marine waters. These are listed in the right side menu.

Marine regions and subregions of MSFD

The Marine Directive requires that, in developing their marine strategies, Member States use existing regional cooperation structures to co-ordinate among themselves and to make every effort to coordinate their actions with those of third countries in the same region or sub-region.

The MSFD defines four marine regions where the Directive is to be implemented, among which 2 of them are further divided in 4 subregions each. This map represents those regions and subregions, and the metadata provide the necessary context for the use of the map and the common understanding of the delimitation of the features.
Click here for map resources.

Note 1: The area shaded in purple and white indicates an area to which both the United Kingdom and the Government of the Kingdom of Denmark together with the Government of the Faroes have transmitted overlapping submissions to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) in fulfilment of their respective rights and obligations under Article 76 and Annex II to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in order to determine entitlement of outer continental shelf areas. This map should not be used in any way to prejudice the determination of that question by the CLCS in due course.

Note 2: The area shaded in black and white shows the delineation of the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 M from the territorial sea baselines of France, Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom in respect of the area of the Celtic Sea and the Bay of Biscay, as provided by the four countries to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) and included in its recommendations issued on 24 March 2009. The map of the continental shelf’s extent shall be used without prejudice to the agreements that will be concluded in due course between these Member States on their marine borders in this area.

Note 3: The seas of Azov and Marmara are shown as shaded as they do not fall within the geographic scope of application of the Bucharest Convention.






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Baltic Sea

The Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment in the Baltic Sea Area of 1992 (further to the earlier version of 1974) – the Helsinki Convention (HELCOM)

North-East Atlantic

The Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment in the North-East Atlantic of 1992 (further to earlier versions of 1972 and 1974) – the OSPAR Convention (OSPAR)


The Convention for the Protection of Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean of 1995 (further to the earlier version of 1976) – the Barcelona Convention (UNEP-MAP)

Black Sea

The Convention for the Protection of the Black Sea of 1992 – the Bucharest Convention.