Ever increasing and diverse use of the marine environment is leading to human-induced changes in marine life, habitats and landscapes, making necessary the development of marine policy that considers all members of the user community and addresses current, multiple, interacting uses. Taking a systems approach incorporating an understanding of The Ecosystem Approach, we integrate the DPSIR framework with ecosystem services and societal benefits, and the focus this gives allows us to create a specific framework for supporting decision making in the marine environment. Based on a linking of these three concepts, we present a set of basic postulates for the management of the marine environment and emphasise that these postulates should hold for marine management to be achieved. We illustrate these concepts using two case studies: the management of marine aggregates extraction in UK waters and the management of marine biodiversity at Flamborough Head, UK. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.