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Cross border MPA Galicia bank – Vigo and Vasco da Gama seamounts

Abstract: 

The Spanish and Portugese authorities discussed the idea to develop and manage and cross-border Marine Protected Area (MPA) between both countries. In order to achieve this, the case study presented in this report focused on the existing Spanish MPA of Galicia Bank and on the Vigo and Vasco da Gama Seamounts, located in the western limit of the geologic continental platform and on the northern limit of the Portuguese jurisdictional area.

Sea Basin(s): 
Country: 
Year: 
2019
Application in MSP: 
Unknown effect
Sectors: 
Nature protection
Type of Issue: 
Cross-border cooperation
Ecosystem-based approach
Environment aspects
Type of practice: 
Pilot plan
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Develop and implement plan
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 
Yes
Coherence with other processes: 
Habitats and Birds Directive
Marine Strategy Framework Directive

Questions this practice may help answer:

1.What are the existing uses and activities, as well as the major environmental pressures, in the

2.What are the governance frameworks in Spain and Portugal regarding marine conservation and maritime spatial planning?

3.What are Portuguese and Spanish marine and coastal planning policies and management tools?

4.Which actions need to be taken to develop a cross-border MPA in the

Implementation Context:

The latest inventory undertaken by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) includes 227 transboundary conservation areas (TBCAs) worldwide which cooperation ranges from informal agreements to government-to government treaties. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) considers 3 type of transboundary conservation areas;

  • Transboundary Protected Area
  • Transboundary Conservation Landscape
  • Seascape and Transboundary Migration Conservation Areas.

Taking into account the case study, it was considered an added value to look for transboundary marine conservation initiatives, those that are specifically cross-border, independently of their international recognition. To understand their main features regarding institutional, governing, management frameworks, and commonalities and differences between them, 6 cross-border MPAs were analyzed.

The SIMNORAT project developed a case study conceptualizing the implementation of a cross-border MPA in the Northwest sector of Iberian Peninsula, and covering areas of the Portuguese and Spanish Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). The exercise advances the background work for a future common institutional intention, in the creation of a cross-border MPA between Portugal and Spain. The report will give a background work to the identification of relevant issues (including challenges and opportunities) for a future action in this context, not implying any type of decision or commitment on the planning of the activities

Aspects / Objectives:

  1. Identification of the existing uses and activities, as well as the major pressures;
  2. Analysis of the governance framework in Spain and Portugal regarding marine conservation and maritime spatial planning;
  3. Comparative analysis of Portuguese and Spanish marine and coastal planning policies and management tools;
  4. Development of a roadmap for a cross-border MPA between Spain and Portugal.

Method:

1.Analyse the perceptions for a future cross border MSP with partners and stakeholders

2.Develop a cross-border MPA proposal, with the focus on the following issues:

  • Major steps towards a common proposal
  • Co-governance
  • Co-management measures
  • Co-monitoring 

Main Outputs / Results:

The following conclusions have been made:

  • The success of a cross border MPA can only be achieved through an effective management, supported by a shared mechanism,
  • A cross-border MPA management initiative must be based on the governance structure of both countries and formulated in such way that it is possible to, directly, or via corresponding management plans in either country, lay down legally effective recommendations or regulations.
  • It is also essential to evaluate the political relations and the administrative structure on both countries in order to optimize the cooperation process addressing effective responsibilities for the creation and management of the cross-border MPA.
  • The creation of a joint steering committee is the keystone for a cooperative process working as an “engine” that promotes real action and commitment from both countries. This means further research into economic values of marine biodiversity and ecosystem services to ensure best practice planning and management of the sea resources.
  • Strategic country-to-country cooperative agreements at the political level have value as a means to provide an enabling environment for bilateral collaboration, whereas informal or formal cooperation for shared management and operational issues, often in conjunction with stakeholders.

Transferability:

There are many transboundary conservation areas (TBCAs) in Europe which cooperation ranges from informal agreements to government-to government treaties. Also, in these areas the question might rise how to develop these areas into official Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and what kind of actions need to be taken for this. This case study and the findings are therefore also relevant for possible cooperation on MPAs in other areas.

RESPONSIBLE ENTITIES

University of Aveiro

COSTS / FUNDING SOURCE

SIMNORAT was co-funded by the EC – DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE)

CONTACT PERSON

Marcia Marques

Unviersity of Aveiro, Portugal

marcia.marques@ua.pt

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