Europe and the North Atlantic’s largest fully protected marine reserve established

A marine protected area in Portugal’s Madeira has been expanded around the Selvagens Islands, in what is now Europe and the North Atlantic’s largest fully protected marine reserve.

The legal declaration of this marine area of total protection covers a territory of 2,677 square kilometres, in an area of 12 nautical miles around the Selvagens Islands, a small archipelago in the North Atlantic located midway between Madeira and the Canary Islands.

Research carried out by National Geographic, the Oceano Azul and the Waitt Foundation found that that open waters around the Selvagen Islands were a vital waypoint for migrating fish and mammals in the Atlantic while the nearshore waters provided important nursery habitats. 

Under the legal declaration, all species existing there are now fully protected from extractive activities, such as fishing or aggregate exploitation.

A statement released by the Ocean Foundation said that “strengthening the protection of the Selvagens islands will contribute to increasing marine diversity, genetic richness and reproductive capacity of species, including many with commercial interest”.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living

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