The OSPAR Commission for the protection of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) adopted the NACES MPA for seabirds in 2021. OSPAR is now seeking views on whether to extend the NACES MPA to cover the seabed and other species and habitats.
The North Atlantic Current and Evlanov Sea basin Marine Protected Area (shown below) was designated at OSPAR’s 2021 Ministerial meeting, primarily for the protection of seabirds. This reflected the fact that the NACES MPA is an important transition zone where large oceanic gyres meet, resulting in nutrient rich waters that that make it an area where biodiversity is often high. Based on tracking data the area, around the size of France, was found to be an important feeding and foraging area and is used both by seabirds breeding on the coasts of the North-East Atlantic, and by those migrating across the globe or nesting in other parts of the world. Specifically, the Site is an important foraging ground for the OSPAR listed species blacklegged kittiwake, thick-billed murre, and Audubon’s shearwater. This site is located in the Area Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) of the OSPAR Maritime Area.
As a part of the designation of the NACES MPA, OSPAR Contracting Parties recognised that the reason the site was so important for seabirds might also apply to other species and the habitats that support them. OSPAR therefore agreed that by 2023 it would examine the case for broadening the scope and conservation objectives of the NACES MPA.
This consultation, that starts on 1 December 2022 for a period of 3 months, invites views on new evidence presented in the revised nomination proforma that seeks to demonstrate clear linkages between the benthic and pelagic systems, explaining why this site is so important for seabirds and other species.
Information on how to contribute to the consultation and the specific questions on which views are sought is available at https://www.ospar.org/work-areas/bdc/marine-protected-areas/ospar-seeks-views-on-the-nomination-proforma-for-the-north-atlantic-current-and-evlanov-seabasin-mpa
More information on OSPAR’s network of MPAs can be found here https://www.ospar.org/work-areas/bdc/marine-protected-areas and our latest summary assessment here https://oap.ospar.org/en/ospar-assessments/committee-assessments/biodiversity-committee/status-ospar-network-marine-protected-areas/assessment-reports-mpa/mpa-2021/