Ilhas Selvagens – Madeira

Scientific expedition.

Our Goal

In September 2015, a 10-day expedition by National Geographic Pristine Seas was organized to Ilhas Selvagens (Madeira, Portugal) with the support of Waitt Foundation. This was a comprehensive survey of this remote archipelago underwater ecosystems, from shallow to deep waters. The results of this expedition are an important input in the argument for increasing the protected area in the marine reserve.

Initiative status
Stage 4 : Finished
Initiative keywords
  • ecosystems
  • Expedition
  • Ilhas Selvagens
  • Madeira
  • Underwater
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Description

National Geographic and Waitt Foundation, both partners of Oceano Azul Foundation, went on a scientific expedition to the Selvagens Islands, in Madeira, as a part of the "Pristine Seas" program.

There is little knowledge about the ecosystem of the Selvagens Islands, especially in the open waters and deep sea surrounding them. The results of the expedition are being used to recommend to the Portuguese Government the expansion of the current marine protected area around the Selvagens, which covers only the waters down to 200 meters’ depth. The main recommendations were centered on increasing the effectiveness of the surveillance in the islands and expanding the marine reserve.

There is an opportunity to increase the percentage covered by MPAs in Portuguese waters due to the remoteness of this archipelago and the unique conditions of the coastal habitats around the islands. The open waters are important corridors for marine megafauna moving through the eastern Atlantic. The deep sea contains important nursery habitats and deep water corals. Extending the current marine reserve to enclose these ecosystems will provide significant protection to many species and habitats.

This project started in September 2016.

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