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Developing a network of Marine Protected Areas in the Atlantic Arc

The MAIA project is integrated in the Priority 2 of the Programme “Protect, secure and enhance the marine and coastal environment sustainability”, specifically in the Objective 2.2 "Sustainable management and protection of the resources of marine spaces”.


MAIA gathers 9 partners from 4 European countries, United Kingdom, France, Spain and Portugal, which are involved in MPA designation and management. The purpose of MAIA is to create a network of MPA managers, which will take initiatives on an international level in terms of designation, governance and management and be involved in the development of a representative, consistent, efficient and accepted network of Marine Protected Areas in the Atlantic arc.


From the Shetland Islands to the Azores, from the United Kingdom to Portugal, conservation of marine biodiversity has become a key national issue, especially through the creation of Marine Protected Areas. The acronym “MPA” encompasses various tools, approaches and purposes which deserve to be better known. The aim of MAIA partners is to promote and share this diversity and these differences to ensure better understanding and to therefore enhance the development of a consistent, efficient and accepted network of MPAs in the Atlantic arc. Over the last few years, the MPA creation process has accelerated with the development of national strategies which meet the commitments made as part of international conventions. In line with this process, the MAIA project aims at promoting and structuring the sharing of experience and approaches; elaborating common methodologies; contributing to the emergence of a human network of MPA managers.


MAIA sets up four technical Workpackages: State-of-Plate for shared understanding between partners (WP1), coordinated by AGLIA, France; Developing common monitoring strategies (WP2), coordinated by IPIMAR, Portugal; Management plans & measures: definition and/or implementation (WP3), coordinated by Xunta da Galicia, Spain; Securing stakeholders participation in selecting new marine protected areas (WP4), coordinated by JNCC, United Kingdom.


The 2010 – 2012 Action Plan includes: Technical workshops on management issues common to the Marine Protected Areas in the Atlantic arc (establishing indicators in the MPAs, monitoring strategies; defining and implementing management plans; involving the stakeholders in MPA designation processes). These workshops will bring together many stakeholders involved in MPA designation and management such as managers, scientists and sea users such as fishermen. Site visits in each partner country to enhance information, knowledge and know-how transfer between the countries and the MPA managers. A dedicated website including a private collaborative space, a document database and a GIS database supplying the geoportal and the dynamic editorial pages. This database will be used to establish a baseline on the status of Marine Protected Areas in the Atlantic arc and to assess it on a regular basis. Production and dissemination of document resources: field works, cross-sectional analyses, methodological guides, workshop proceedings and thematic documents on MPAs.



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