Descriptor 8 (contaminants and their effects) is one of the eleven Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) qualitative descriptors for determining Good Environmental Status (GES) (Directive 2008/56/EC). To monitor compliance with Good Environmental Status (GES) for Descriptor 8, contaminant concentrations and biological effects should be measured in environmental samples and compared to assessment criteria. The contaminant monitoring currently undertaken in Scotland’s seas was reviewed. Monitoring programmes include the UK Clean Seas Environment Monitoring Programme (CSEMP), undertaken by Marine Scotland Science (MSS) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), and the Water Framework Directive (WFD) monitoring, undertaken mainly by SEPA. The suitability of current monitoring programmes in addressing the requirements of Descriptor 8 was assessed.