The Azores is a key location for understanding the migration of sea turtles in the Atlantic. All loggerhead turtles found in these waters come from the laying beaches of North America and the Caribbean islands. The biggest longline fishing fleets in this area are the Spanish and Portuguese, searching for swordfish and tuna. Other major fleets, such as the Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian, Greek and Moroccan fleets, can also be found in both the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Compiling information on the impact, fishing effort and discards of these fleets can help in managing the waters surrounding a ban on the use of bottom trawling over its important seamounts.
Between the Azores and the Strait of Gibraltar there are seamounts of tremendous ecological value. The peaks of some of them rise up to just a few meters; others are rooted at depths of some 3,000 meters. These mountains represent marine oases for hundreds of species and are home to deep-sea coral reefs.