Case Study 8: The Azores

Case Study 8 centres on the richly biodiverse Faial-Pico Channel, a 240km² Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the Azores, Portugal, an EU Outermost Region. Despite increasing international, Azorean, and local protection for the area, biodiversity in the MPA continues to be lost. Numerous human activities at place in the Channel are placing pressure on the ecosystem, especially fishing and swiftly increasing tourist numbers. Fishers and tourism operators (including diving operators), value the biodiversity hotspots within the Channel, but have different objectives for how they should be managed. Managing the Channel is complicated by multi-level and overlapping responsibilities, with policy development and enforcement split across the local-level Nature Park of Faial and Nature Park of Pico, and the Azores-level Regional Directorate for Sea Affairs, who must consider local, Azorean, Portuguese, and EU policy targets. Additionally, as evidenced by the policy process that resulted in the 2016 increase in fishing regulations in the channel (Ordinance no. 53/2016), stakeholders such as recreational fishers and tourism operators are not well integrated into policy development. What is more, there is no formal MPA management plan for the Channel that clearly establishes targets, roles, timelines, monitoring, and enforcement.

See for more information on this Case Study on the AQUACROSS website.