underwater marine life

The resolution creating the Algarve Marine Natural Park – Pedra do Valado, in an area of nearly 156 square kilometers covering the coasts of Albufeira, Lagoa and Silves, was published on Friday in the Diário da República.

On November 23, 2023, the Council of Ministers approved the creation of this protected area of community interest, following the joint proposal made to the government by the Centre for Marine Sciences (CCMAR) of the University of the Algarve (UAlg) and the Oceano Azul Foundation in May 2021.

The marine area in question “constitutes one of the richest areas in terms of biodiversity at national level, benefiting from particular oceanographic conditions”, where “Pedra do Valado is located, the largest coastal reef in the Algarve and one of the largest in Portugal, which has unique natural values in the context of the Portuguese coast”, says the Council of Ministers resolution published on Friday.

The site is home to nearly 900 species of fauna and flora (703 species of invertebrates, 111 of fish and 75 types of algae), 24 of which have “conservation status”, and 12 species new to science have been discovered there.

The government resolution states that the Marine Nature Park encompasses an integral reserve area, with the main objectives of “effectively safeguarding and restoring natural values and the health of existing ecosystems (…) promoting small-scale fishing by local communities in a sustainable manner and guaranteeing the sustainability of maritime tourism and recreational activities”.

The text also states that the classification of the area between Lagoa, Armação de Pera (Silves) and Albufeira “fulfills Portugal’s national and international commitment to the legal protection of at least 30% of the maritime space under national jurisdiction, as set out in the European Union’s Biodiversity Strategy for 2030”.

This resolution comes into force in 30 days.

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