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Abstract This study presents a comprehensive and generic framework that provides a typology for the identification and selection of consistently defined ecosystem-based management measures and allows a coherent evaluation of these measures based on their performance to achieve policy objectives. The performance is expressed in terms of their reduction of risk of an adverse impact on the marine ecosystem. This typology consists of two interlinked aspects of a measure, i.e. the “Focus” and the “Type”. The “Focus” is determined by the part of the impact chain (Driver–Pressure–State) the measure is supposed to mitigate or counteract. The “Type” represents the physical measure itself in terms of how it affects the impact chain directly; we distinguish Spatio-temporal distribution controls, Input and Output controls, Remediation and Restoration measures. The performance of these measures in terms of their reduction in risk of adverse impacts was assessed based on an explicit consideration of three time horizons: past, present and future. Application of the framework in an integrated management strategy evaluation of a suite of measures, shows that depending on the time horizon, different measures perform best. “Past” points to measures targeting persistent pressures (e.g. marine litter) from past activities. “Present” favors measures targeting a driver (e.g. fisheries) that has a high likelihood of causing adverse impacts. “Future” involves impacts that both have a high likelihood of an adverse impact, as well as a long time to return to pre-impacted condition after the implementation of appropriate management, e.g. those caused by permanent infrastructure or persistent pressures such as marine litter or specific types of pollution.