The Macaronesian marine sub region is one of the four included in the North-East Atlantic marine region, by Article 4 of Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) that sets a framework for the communitarian actions on marine environmental policy field. It gathers sea waters surrounding the archipelagos of Azores, Madeira and Canary Islands, all of them under the jurisdiction of Portugal and Spain. This sub-region is one of the largest in Europeans seas, although it is also one with the less information available, at the level of some of the MSFD Descriptors, and whose biological values are less recognized.

Macaronesia as a whole, it is not covered by any regional maritime convention; even when the MSFD specifically establishes a regional approach when the environmental situation of European marine waters is assessed. Therefore, within the work previously developed by the MISTIC SEAS, it is necessary to establish a forum able to ensure the coherence and the comparability of assessments of marine fauna living on open sea water, including the functional groups previously considered (marine mammals, sea birds and sea turtles).

The approach applied on MISTIC SEAS projects is based on a strong coordination and cooperation between member states, Portugal and Spain, their respective competent institutions and their technical and scientific teams. MISTIC SEAS was developed in order to strengthen synergies (technical and scientific) and to add efficiency improvements for the implementation of the Directive and the Macaronesia report which are the basis of the Action Plan on MISTIC SEAS project.

Its main objective is to update and follow-up the initial assessment of the MSFD, guaranteeing the coherence of the Good Environmental State (GES) assessment of the marine environment and the definition of the objectives in the Macaronesia sub-region. The methodological aspects of data collection, analysis and GES determination will be evaluated and optimised in order to reduce the remaining knowledge gaps.

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