This paper uses the choice experiment methodology to estimate the value of the non-market benefits associated with the achievement of good (marine) environmental status (GES) as specified in the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The MSFD requires that the 'costs of degradation' (the benefits foregone if GES is not achieved) be considered within a broader 'Economic and Social Assessment' of the marine environment by EU member states. Assessing the costs of degradation as defined by the MSFD implies that changes in marine ecosystem services provided in each State should be analysed. The results show that there are high values attached with changes to the state of the marine environment by the Irish general public. The results of a random parameters logit model also demonstrate that preferences are heterogeneous, with changes in certain marine attributes generating both positive and negative utilities. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.