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Portuguese government enlarges and creates new Special Protection Areas

Portuguese government enlarges and creates new Special Protection Areas

One of LIFE+ MarPro project main objectives is the widening of the Natura 2000 Network in the marine environment. Over the last few years the project partners have been actively engaged in the elaboration of proposals aiming to define new areas in the open sea. This has been done through the collection of information on the distribution and abundance of the priority species, data analysis, participation in work meetings, and also the elaboration of technical reports supporting the presented proposals.


At the end of last August, the first step to achieve this objective was taken, with the Ministers Council approving the creation of the "Cabo Raso" and "Aveiro/Nazaré" SPA's, and the enlargement of the limits of the "Cabo Espichel" and "Costa Sudoeste" SPA's. This decision was recently transposed to the national legislation on the following initiatives:

Decreto-Lei n.º 204/2015 - Diário da República n.º 182/2015, Série I de 2015-09-1770300351 (PDF)
Ministry of the Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy proceeds to the alteration of the limits of the Cabo Espichel" and "Costa Sudoeste" SPA's, created by the Decreto-Lei n.º 384-B/99, of the  23rd of September.


Decreto Regulamentar n.º 17/2015 - Diário da República n.º 185/2015, Série I de 2015-09-2270348608 (PDF)
Ministry of the Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy creates the new "Cabo Raso" and "Aveiro/Nazaré" SPA's.

The creation of the first zones and the alteration of the limits of the second aims to reinforce the conservation of migratory seabirds using the Portuguese continental coast, particularly the Balearic shearwater, which according to the IUCN, is a globally critically endangered species, and a priority in the Birds Directive, since the number of existing breeding individuals is reduced and a very significant part of that population uses the Portuguese coast as a passage and wintering zone.

These initiatives also aim to fill a gap of the current SPA's, since the feeding and resting areas used by the balearic shearwaters during migration and wintering periods, during which almost the entire world population of this species passes or stays in the Portuguese coast, were not included.

In the same Ministers Counsel, another initiative establishing the legal regime for the classification and management of marine protected areas in the soil, subsoil, water column and surface beyond the territorial sea, was approved.

The classification and management of the marine protected areas corresponds to the fulfilment of international obligations assumed by Portugal, as a coastal state, in the exercise of its sovereign rights and jurisdiction. By the approved initiative, the classified marine protected areas are integrated in the Fundamental Network for Conservation of Nature and the coordination between the various national authorities with powers in this area is enhanced (mainland and islands).

The Life + MarPro team, composed by the partner entities University of Aveiro, University of Minho, ICNF, IPMA, SPVS and SPEA, welcomes these advances in the implementation of the Natura 2000 network in the marine environment and it is with a renewed spirit that awaits the completion of the parallel process on the definition of marine CSIs' for the conservation of cetaceans.


Last Modified: 25/10/2015

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