Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Marine legislation - the ultimate 'horrendogram': international law, European directives and national implementation

Boyes, Suzanne J.; Elliott, Michael


Suzanne J. Boyes

Profile Image

Professor Mike Elliott
Emeritus Professor of Estuarine and Coastal Sciences/ Research Professor, Institute of Estuarine and Coastal Studies


The EU is a pre-eminent player in sustainable development, adopting more than 200 pieces of legislation that have direct repercussions for marine environmental policy and management. Over five decades, measures have aimed to protect the marine environment by tackling the impact of human activities, but maritime affairs have been dealt with by separate sectoral policies without fully integrating all relevant sectors. Such compartmentalisation has resulted in a patchwork of EU legislation and resultant national legislation leading to a piecemeal approach to marine protection. These are superimposed on international obligations emanating from UN and other bodies and are presented here as complex ‘horrendograms’ showing the complexity across vertical governance. These horrendograms have surprised marine experts despite them acknowledging the many uses and users of the marine environment. Encouragingly since 2000, the evolution in EU policy has progressed to more holistic directives and here we give an overview of this change.


Boyes, S. J., & Elliott, M. (2014). Marine legislation - the ultimate 'horrendogram': international law, European directives and national implementation. Marine pollution bulletin, 86(1-2), 39-47.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 1, 2014
Publication Date Sep 15, 2014
Deposit Date Dec 8, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Marine pollution bulletin
Print ISSN 0025-326X
Electronic ISSN 1879-3363
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 86
Issue 1-2
Pages 39-47
Keywords EU marine legislation, Sectoral, Holistic, Policy mapping, Governance
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Marine legislation – The ultimate ‘horrendogram’: International law, European directives & national implementation; Journal Title: Marine Pollution Bulletin; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Article.pdf (473 Kb)

Copyright Statement
© 2014. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license

You might also like

Downloadable Citations