The first Portuguese Marine IBA inventory published
After four years of intense work SPEA (BirdLife in Portugal) has published the first Portuguese Inventory of Marine Important Bird Areas (IBAs).
Portugal is a haven for seabirds, with the archipelagos of Azores and Madeira hosting the largest populations of species such as the Cory’s Shearwater Calonectris diomedea or the Bulwer’s Petrel Bulweria bulwerii.
This inventory is the first of its kind in the world, as it includes not only coastal Marine IBAs, but also pure offshore areas identified for highly pelagic seabirds such as shearwaters, which live on the open sea. Those areas were recognised thanks to the deployment of tracking devices such as GPS-loggers. The Important Bird Areas (IBAs) Programme of BirdLife International seeks to identify and conserve sites that are critical for the long-term viability of bird populations. The Global Seabird Programme is taking the lead on identifying marine IBAs.
The publication will help other BirdLife Partners currently involved in Marine IBA Projects, as it contains a very detailed description of all the methods used and a Marine IBA designation step-by-step protocol. In order to increase its use, SPEA have also published the book both in Portuguese and English, and also created an online digital book that allows users to navigate through the books pages, carry out searches or download a .pdf version.
This publication is a great success both on a national and international level, and will act as an example for many other countries —Iván Ramírez, BirdLife’s European Marine Coordinator
“This publication is a great success both on a national and international level, and will act as an example for many other countries”, said Iván Ramírez - BirdLife’s European Marine Coordinator affirms.
Following a letter of support signed by the Portuguese Government in 2004, SPEA is currently working with the central government and the regions of Madeira and Azores, to have the 17 Marine IBAs classified as Special Protected Areas (SPAs) under the EU Birds Directive. SPAs which will then form part of the Natura 2000 network of Protected Areas. The process is now on-going, but SPEA believes most of the Marine IBAs could be legally protected over the next year.
This inventory is the final result of a LIFE-funded Project that started in 2004 and that ran parallel to a twin initiative led by SEO/BirdLife in Spain.
To find out more about BirdLife’s work on Marine IBAs, please click here. To visit the Portuguese Marine IBA digital book or download the .pdf, please click here. For more information please contact Ivan Ramirez, European Marine Coordinator at email@example.com
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Credits: SPEA (BirdLife in Portugal)