Like any other EU country, Portugal has to comply with European regulations. The Habitats Directive requires all Member States to establish Marine Protected Areas (MPA) to form part of the EU’s Natura 2000 by the year 2012, thus creating an ecologically coherent set of areas of whose conservation is of critical community importance.
The expansion of the Natura 2000 Network in Portugal is still at an early stage. Less than 1% of the surface waters of Portugal is protected. Assessments carried out by the European Commission in 2009 and 2010, described the Portuguese network of MPAs, including those in Macaronesian waters, as insufficient, and obliged the country to create new MPAs.
Oceana believes that the government of Portugal should protect the seamounts of the Gorringe Bank, Ampere and Seine urgently.