The Portuguese marine protected areas "flew" to France
The implementation of the "MPA Guide" in the Portuguese Marine Protected Areas and sharing views on this form of protection were the motives for the trip of our researchers Bárbara Horta e Costa and Juliette Biquet, to La Rochelle in France.
The Life Platform Meeting, in La Rochelle, was focused on the concept of 'Strict Protection' - under the European Biodiversity Strategy 2030 on which the countries will need to establish 10% of their waters as strictly protected.
Why did you go to France?
I went to La Rochelle (France) to attend the Life Platform Meeting where the concept of ‘Strict Protection’ – under the European Biodiversity Strategy 2030 –, was the main focus of discussions. European MPA managers, researchers, and practitioners went to present case studies and research reinforcing the importance of strict protection in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
The concept ‘Strict protection’ is not yet defined but countries will need to establish 10% of their waters as strictly protected.
I was there to share visions and to present the MPA guide and its application to the Portuguese MPAs. Expected outcomes from Fully and Highly protected areas (levels within the MPA Guide that can comply with the ‘strict protection’ definition) were highlighted when MPAs fulfill enabling conditions.
My recent PhD student at CCMAR, Juliette Biquet, was also there with me. Her main PhD goal is to assess the MPA levels of the European MPAs, and the reasons for low protection, given the ambition of European policies. So, it was important for her to be in a professional meeting aiming to discuss such topic.
We have made important contacts, that will be key for the PhD of Juliette, designated: “Towards effective protection of European Marine Protected Areas: Investigating ecological dimensions, social and psychological barriers of different protection levels, to reach the EU’s 2030 Biodiversity Targets”.
We will also follow up and contribute to draft suggestions on how to define and implement strict protection in European MPAs.
We are having the opportunity to contribute to European policies and to the future of ocean conservation in Europe.
Many presentations were focused on governance aspects – as concerns exist on how to engage stakeholders to support MPAs (a key driver of MPA success – enabling condition) and, at the same time, achieve strict protection in certain MPA zones.
Another highlight was the strong networking stimulated by such a meeting.