The Action plan considers responses to the challenges of delivering growth, reducing the carbon footprint, using the sea's natural resources sustainably, responding effectively to threats and emergencies and implementing an "ecosystem" management approach in Atlantic waters. The priorities aim to:

The Action plan also aim to give fresh impetus to the cooperation with other Atlantic nations, such as the United States and Canada, to better understand the dynamic of the ocean.

As a result, by 2018 some 20 projects involving 320 international research teams have evolved, including trans-Atlantic neighbours as well, thanks to the Galway statement and the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance between the EU, the US and Canada.