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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 (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 generations. 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 populations 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 interest. Regional Protected Areas Natura 2000 Network OSPAR Marine Biosphere Reserve World Heritage Sites
Timeline of (Marine) Protected Areas in the Azores 2007 Revision of Regional Network of Protected Areas OSPAR: Corvo, Rainbow, Lucky Strike, Menez Gwen 2006 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 2005 2004 2003 2001 1989 1983 1980 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 nomination. • Corvo and three MPAs covering the Rainbow, Menez Gwen and Lucky Strike hydrothermal vent fields are reported in 2006 and adopted in 2007. • (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 (1700 m and -900 m 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
UNESCO • 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 1992 Approval of Azores list of Sites 1998 Official SCI list for Macaronesia JOC 2001 Special Areas of Conservation SAC 2007 • Habitats Directive: preservation of threatened, rare and vulnerable natural habitats and species • 19 (23) SCI/ZEC with management proposals
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 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 categories • 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. • NATURA 2000: SAC/SPA • IBAs • Regional Legislation • Pico-Faial Channel • (…) • Significant step towards international recognition of the natural and landscape values of the Region
Rainbow • 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 archipelago. • 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 EEZ.
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 economy – Advocates for a common vision in the form of an overall coastal and marine spatial development plan – 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 directives. • 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: Imag. DOP, Luís Quinta and SRAM-Azores