In February 2019, the Regional Government of the Azores, Oceano Azul Foundation and the Waitt Institute signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create the Blue Azores Program. Goals of the program are to develop and implement marine spatial plans to protect 15% of the Azores' Exclusive Economic Zone through marine reserves, to improve fisheries management, and to create a blue literacy program for schools and the community.
FROM THE FIELD
150,00 KM2 OF NEW MARINE PROTECTED AREAS IN THE AZORES
Focused on the conservation and sustainable use of natural marine resources in the Azores, the Blue Azores Program will contribute to protecting, promoting and valuing the natural capital of the Azores archipelago, in close collaboration with various partners and entities.
On February 28th, 2019, the Regional Government of the Azores, the Oceano Azul Foundation and the Waitt Institute, signed a memorandum of understanding over the “Blue Azores” Program, which will be developed and implemented over a period of 36 months following the signing of the memorandum.
The Blue Azores focuses on the conservation and sustainable use of resources, involving education, economics and fisheries management, as well as various local, regional, national and international partners.
The Blue Azores is based on the following main actions:
Declaring 15% of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Azores as new marine protected areas;
Creating and implementing management plans for the new marine reserves and all existing marine protected areas;
Developing and legally adopt a marine spatial planning plan;
Developing innovative studies and approaches contributing to the sustainable management of fisheries;
Identifying new areas of interest for conservation, supporting scientific processes;
Implementing a blue literacy program for schools and the community.
The program will also create new opportunities for sustainable economic development in the Azores, supporting Portugal and the Azores to achieve international objectives set by the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (ODS) 14, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature).
To kick off this program, two scientific expeditions were carried out in the Azores. The first took place in 2016 and evaluated the state of the marine ecosystems in the eastern group of islands. The second, the Oceano Azul Expedition, provided an overview of coastal, open ocean and deep-sea ecosystems in the central and western areas of the archipelago. In addition to other ongoing scientific studies, the scientific reports on the health status of these marine ecosystems from these two expeditions will provide an important scientific basis to support the process of defining and establishing these new Azorean marine protected areas.
ABOUT THE AZORES
Exclusive Economic Zone:
Threats to the ocean:
How we address the threats:
Eastern Atlantic, over 1,500 km from nearest continent.
Group of nine islands with a total land mass of 2,322 km2
Loss of Biodiversity
Scientific expeditions were carried out by Waitt Foundation and Oceano Azul Foundation in the Azores that evaluated the state of coastal, open ocean and deep-sea marine ecosystems in the eastern, central and western areas of the archipelago. Information from these expeditions paired with other ongoing scientific studies provides an important scientific basis to support the process of defining and establishing these new Azorean marine protected areas.