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Marine Protected Areas:
an essential tool for the Future
European Maritime Policy
Regional Secretariat for Environment and Sea
Regional Directorate for Environment
Frederico Cardigos
In this presentation…
• Value of MPAs
– Ecological
– Socio-Economic
• MPAs of the Azores
– Types
– Examples
• Future of MPAs in the Azores
– Regional Network of MPAs
• MPAs and Europe
The Importance of Marine
Protected Areas
 Marine Protected Areas (MPA) are
recognized in most regions of the world
as an important way to conserve lifesustaining ecosystems and specific
habitat for marine animals
 They are used to protect and preserve
representative samples of marine
biodiversity for the benefit of future
 They are distinct from terrestrial
protected areas by being less about
preventing immediate threats or
looming extinction and more about
precaution and the benefits to industry
of preserving types of habitat.
Benefits of MPAs
 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have
been shown to have substantial
benefits for:
 renewing fish and other marine
 scientific and educational initiatives
 encouraging support of marine
conservation from human communities
 attracting important economic interest
from marine ecotourism that is compatible
with zoned MPAs.
Influence on Economy
• Fisheries: MPA help preserve genetic diversity,
especially in heavily exploited populations; they
provide a refuge where individuals can mature
and populations evolve unaffected by harvesting
and other human impacts
• Contributions to technology and scientific
knowledge: the oceans and the biodiversity they
contain provide the raw materials for new sources
of food, textiles, medicines and energy
• Contribution to sustainable tourism: diversity and
abundance of marine life attracts tourists,
generating business opportunities and sustaining
coastal communities. At the same time, marine
protected areas provide a tool for regulating the
impacts of tourism on the marine environment
and ensuring equitable access rights
Classified Areas of the Azores
The classified areas
of othe Azores are
exceptional sites that
combine a high
botanical, faunistical,
ecological, landscape
and geological
Regional Protected Areas
Natura 2000 Network
Marine Biosphere Reserve
World Heritage Sites
Timeline of (Marine) Protected Areas
in the Azores
Revision of Regional Network of Protected Areas
OSPAR: Corvo, Rainbow, Lucky Strike, Menez Gwen
Classification of Corvo Regional Natural Park
Prop. 2 islands UNESCO Marine Biosphere Reserve
Nomination of 1 Protected Landscape of Regional
Interest (with marine component)
Proposals for:
• Lucky Strike and Menez Gwen
• Corvo
• Faial-Pico Channel
Proposed 6 sites for OSPAR MPA Network
Designation of Natura 2000 sites
Designation of 8 MPA
First Marine Protected Area (included in a Protected
Area): Monte da Guia Protected Landscape
Regional Management Models:
different answers to different needs
Corvo: being the smallest island of the archipelago, it
exhibits a well preserved coastal environment and
contains a small population, receptive to proposals on
environmental conservation. Therefore, it seems to
unite all conditions for a sustainable management plan.
Monte da Guia (first MPA): SCIs located on the coastal
and marine environment at the island of Faial are
subjects of strong pressure from tourism, fishing and
urban activities. Consequently, the necessary
management was of a different type, involving a greater
variety of socio-economic sectors.
Formigas and the Dollabarat reef: represent the
setting for a third management model. Isolated, this
area could be made into an oceanic offshore sanctuary.
Marine Protected Areas in the Azores
• 24 Protected Areas (classified)
– 12 Regional Natural Reserves
– 4 Protected Landscape of Regional Interest
– 7 Regional Natural Monuments
– 1 Natural Park
11 are or include Marine Protected Areas
OSPAR Network of MPA
• Purpose: complete by 2010 a joint network of well-managed
marine protected areas of Europe that, together with the
NATURA 2000 network, is ecologically coherent.
• Formigas/Dollabarat bank: reported to
MASH 05, being first OSPAR MPA
• Corvo and three MPAs covering the
Rainbow, Menez Gwen and Lucky
Strike hydrothermal vent fields are
reported in 2006 and adopted in
• (Originally, the Rainbow hydrothermal
vent was thought to be an area
outside of national jurisdiction, and
was proposed by WWF as an MPA.)
Lucky Strike & Menez Gwen
• Lucky Strike and Menez Gwen are two off shore
hydrothermal vent fields of relatively shallow location (1700m and -900m deep, respectively) located inside the
Portuguese EEZ, in the proximity to the Azores
• The sites were proposed “with the aim of promoting
knowledge, monitoring and conservation of an area that
best represents species, habitats and ecological
processes in deep-sea hydrothermal vents in the
OSPAR area, while enabling sustainable scientific
research and promoting education and environmental
public awareness and interest”. This situation creates a
unique opportunity to link science, education and
environment protection
• Biosphere Reserves – Graciosa and Corvo:
nature “certificates of quality” that have the
potential of triggering sustainable development,
through the promotion of the “quality image of
these islands”
• World Heritage Sites – Mid-Atlantic Ridge:
Azorean (marine off-shore) sites along the ridge
may become candidates to this classification
Natura 2000 Network - Azores
Habitats Directive
Approval of
Azores list of Sites
Official SCI list for
JOC 2001
Special Areas of
SAC 2007
• Habitats Directive: preservation of
threatened, rare and vulnerable
natural habitats and species
• 19 (23) SCI/ZEC with management
Regional Network of Protected Areas
• As a consequence of the ecological deterioration during the
last two decades, various isolated legislative measures have
been taken for the conservation of marine species and
habitats in the Azores;
• As a Region with a maritime area larger than the terrestrial,
the Azores has a special responsibility for the conservation
and management of its marine and coastal environments
and their resources;
• With a view to prevent what has happened with previous
scattered measures, the need to implement an integrated
program of management planning became evident.
Regional Network of Protected Areas
• In 2007, the Regional Government of the Azores
legislated the revision of the Regional Network of
Protected Areas
• Classification and re-classification of protected
areas based on a management model
Island Natural Parks
Azores Marine Park
Terrestrial classified areas within
territory of each island (may
include marine component, if
within territorial waters)
Made up of the marine classified
areas, that integrate one only
management unit and are
situated beyond territorial waters
Regional Network of Protected Areas
• In a move towards consistency in defining and managing
marine protected areas worlwide, the Regional Government
of the Azores adopted the World Conservation Union's
(IUCN) set of seven internationally recognised management
• The terrestrial and marine areas of the Island Natural Parks
and the marine areas of the Azores Marine Park will fall under
the following categories:
a) Strict nature reserve;
b) Natural monument;
c) Habitat/species management area;
d) Protected Landscape/seascape;
e) Managed resource protected area.
Regional Network of Protected Areas
• Existent classified areas will be re-classified in order
to integrate the network; new classifications will also
be studied.
• IBAs
• Regional Legislation
• Pico-Faial Channel
• (…)
• Significant step towards international recognition of
the natural and landscape values of the Region
• The Oslo-Paris International Commission (OSPAR) has accepted
the Portuguese jurisdiction over the deep-sea hydrothermal vent
Rainbow, situated outside the EEZ but close to the Azorean
• The classification now granted
by the OSPAR commission
renders reason to the Regional
Government which proposed to
the Legislative Assembly the
creation of an Azores Marine
Park with external boundaries
not limited by the 200 miles.
• The new Marine Park, in the
phase of judiciary description,
will have an area of 2.215
hectares beyond the Azorean
The Role of Europe
• Green Paper (towards a Future Maritime
Policy for the Union):
– Ecosystem Approach & Precautionary Principle
– Regards MPAs as an essential management tool
in spatial planning for a growing maritime
– Advocates for a common vision in the form of an
overall coastal and marine spatial development
– Off-shore activities (eg. MPA): a move towards
more coordination between these and among
Member States
• Azorean contribution to the Green Paper:
the Regional Government has made a
strong investment in the qualification of the
Regional Network of Protected Areas – an
example to follow
NATURA 2000 Network - Europe
• The European Commission must continue to be strict with EU
member states over non-compliance with environmental
• The success of NATURA 2000 Network demands the
application of management measures and the adoption of the
network as a national responsibility of each Member State.
• The NATURA 2000 Network represents a unique opportunity
to demonstrate that environmental concerns can be integrated
with other politics and can be compatible with social, cultural
and economic development.
• Extension of the NATURA 2000 Network to the deep sea and
off-shore will allow for higher environmental protection.
MPAs across Europe
• European MPA Network that cuts across common needs and
interests: “when the establishment of protected areas is
coordinated to form a network, it ensures the maintenance of
ecosystems across many levels - locally, regionally and
globally.” ;
• Creation of pan-European “corridor” MPAs for the
safeguarding of the life-cycle of migratory species.
• Tackle the giants of marine environmental degradation with
the use of MPAs : industrial fishing fleets and trawlers,
offshore oil and mining operations and dumping of industrial
and military toxic waste.
• The creation of effective Category I (strict nature reserve)
marine protected areas, nested within biosphere reserves, is
an important way to exercise the precautionary principle to
protect ecosystems while research is carried out.
Thank you.
Photos: ImagDOP, Luís Quinta and SRAM-Azores