MCWG also looks at emerging substances of concern for the marine environment, passive sampling, and chemical aspects of ocean acidification. A significant part of its effort is linked to ICES advisory process, which includes answering to requests from regional sea conventions and providing technical advice in support of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) and Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The group has developed numerous guidelines for monitoring and assessment tools in support of harmonized monitoring under OSPAR's Joint Assessment and Monitoring Programme.
During its early years MCWG played a key role in improving the quality and comparability of chemical substance measurements in the marine environment through intercalibration exercises and development of monitoring protocols for OSPAR and HELCOM. These intercalibrations were the genesis of the QUASIMEME programme, which now supports global marine environmental monitoring activities. Indeed, quality assurance of marine chemical measurements continues to be a high priority for MCWG.
The group works closely with many other expert groups such as that on marine sediments in relation to pollution (WGMS), ocean acidification (SGOA), and biological effects of contaminants (WGBEC), as well as the ICES Data Centre.