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Martinique ,  February 07, 2019

Azores committed to creating protected marine area for cetaceans, says Regional Director for Sea Affairs

The Regional Director for Sea Affairs stated in Martinique that the Azores "are committed" to creating a protected marine area "specifically dedicated to the protection of cetaceans and other elements of the migratory pelagic megafauna that are found in the Region's waters seasonally."
Filipe Porteiro stated that this protected marine area will be created "under the largest conservation project ever implemented in the Azores," designated as LIFE IP Azores Natura, which began this year.
The new protected area will be integrated into the Azores Marine Park, thus "making this spatial conservation structure more comprehensive and consistent with protected habitats and species," said the Regional Director.
Filipe Porteiro spoke on the sidelines of the third workshop on the international project for the management of Marine Protected Areas in the North Atlantic - "Transatlantic Partnership Among Marine Protected Areas, Marine Mammals Protection Twinning."
The Region, through the Azores Marine Park, is one of the partners of this project intended to create synergies among entities responsible for the management of marine protected areas in the Atlantic, namely in the North Atlantic. Its primary purpose concerns the establishment of an international network of marine areas specifically aimed at the protection of cetaceans, especially whales.
Considering the wide geographical distribution of large marine migratory species, such as cetaceans and other elements of the pelagic megafauna, the Regional Director pointed out that "conservation efforts should be coordinated at oceanic scale between regions and countries sharing these resources."
In this context, Filipe Porteiro stressed the relevance of the participation of the Azores in this working group, emphasising that the Region wants to contribute "in an active and coordinated manner to the efforts undertaken in the North Atlantic towards the conservation of cetaceans."
"This is an iconic biological group for the Azores, being one of the most ecologically relevant oceanic hotspots for this fauna," said the government official.
The Regional Director also considered that the initiative is "fundamental as it meets the Region's plans for sustainable development and the protection of marine ecosystems and natural resources," in addition to being in line with the requirements" of Natura 2000 Network (Habitats Directive) and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). Furthermore, it contributes to the goals set forth in the Convention on Biological Diversity and goal 14 of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, both within the United Nations framework.
Filipe Porteiro reiterated that "conservation efforts of large marine mammals have to be geographically compatible with the distribution of species," adding that "it will not make sense to implement conservation measures at animal sanctuaries off the United States coast for species that are unprotected in other regions."
The Regional Director also stated that this workshop also discussed "the need to incorporate protective measures aimed at this group of animals into the management of oceanic protected marine areas that were specifically designated for the protection of cetaceans."
According to Filipe Porteiro, "common guidelines" should be created by the end of this international project to ensure the management of protected marine areas that will effectively safeguard the conservation of large marine mammals on an Atlantic scale.
This vision, to be implemented in coordination with other entries, will be discussed at the 5th International Conference on Marine Mammals Protected Ares to take place in Greece in April.
The partners of the "Transatlantic Partnership Among Marine Protected Areas, Marine Mammals Protection Twinning" project are the following: the French and Dutch regions of the Caribbean, including Martinique, Saint Martin, Bonaire among others, the USA through the Stellwagen Sanctuary in New England, Iceland, Cape Verde and the Azores.
The first two workshops on this project were held in 2017 on the island of Saint Martin and in Iceland.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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