The Macaronesian subregion is one of the four subregions included in the marine region of North East Atlantic, by article 4 of the Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (Marine Strategy Framework Directive, MSFD). It comprises the marine waters surrounding the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands, all of them under the jurisdiction of Portugal and Spain. This subregion is one of the most extensive of the European seas, and also one for which the least information is available. The biological values of the subregion are recognized.
The initial phases of the MSFD implementation included:
- an initial assessment of their marine waters, taking account of existing data were available and comprising an analysis of the essential features and characteristics; an analysis of the predominant pressures and impacts, including human activity, and an economic and social analysis of the use of those waters and of the cost of degradation of the marine environment;
- determination for the marine waters, a set of characteristics for good environmental status in each subregion, and
- establishment of a comprehensive set of environmental targets and associated indicators for their marine waters.
The MISTIC SEAS project has designed a common methodology for monitoring three functional groups (marine mammals, marine turtles and seabirds) of Descriptor 1 (Biodiversity) in the Macaronesia sub-region, focusing on the populations of species shared among the archipelagos. These three functional groups share some common characteristics, because they are mainly broad-spectrum and mobile species, whose conservation must be carried out at the population level and, therefore, depend on international cooperation and coordination. They are also protected by the Habitats and Birds Directives (Directive 92/43/CE and Dir 2009/147 / CE).
The approach applied by MISTIC SEAS is based on strong coordination and cooperation between two member states, Portugal and Spain, their respective competent institutions, and their technical and scientific teams. MISTIC SEAS was developed to strengthen the synergies (technical and scientific) and provide efficiency improvements to the implementation of the Directive and the Macaronesia report, which constitute the basis of the Action Plan of the MISTIC SEAS project.
In order to put into practice everything established in MISTIC SEAS, a new project called MISTIC SEAS 2 has been developed. Its main objective is to update the initial evaluation and guarantee the coherence of the Good Environmental Status (BEA/GES) and the definition of objectives in the Macaronesian subregional level. The methodological aspects of data collection, analysis and determination of Good Environmental Status will be evaluated and optimized in order to reduce the gaps that still exist.
MISTIC SEAS 2 project will carry out oceanographic campaigns in the three archipelagos for the three functional groups using the methodology "Distance Sampling", a method to estimate the abundance and/or density of biological populations by executing linear transects. This will contribute to the MSFD implementation and, in particular, of the 2018 reporting requirements, as well as the progress in the implementation of the program of measures that will be established in 2019.