Algarve Reef Marine Park proposal subject to public debate

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The proposal to classify the Algarve Reef – Pedra do Valado as a marine nature park enters public discussion this month, the Ministry of the Environment announced today, stressing that the area has “unique natural heritage features”.

The Environment Ministry said in a statement that the government had approved the proposal at a meeting of state secretaries, with the notice of public discussion published in the Diário da República on Wednesday.

Public discussion begins within 10 working days and continues for 30 working days.

“Considering that this area has unique natural heritage features that justify a comprehensive and integrated protection status, and in order to ensure the protection of nature and the ecological sustainability of the economic and social activities developed there, classification as a marine nature park is justified,” says the statement issued on the occasion of World Oceans Day.

According to the Ministry of the Environment, “the marine area of the Albufeira, Lagoa and Silves coast is one of the richest areas in terms of biodiversity at national level, being one of the largest coastal rocky reefs in Portugal with unrivalled natural values in the context of the Portuguese coast”.

It points out that this natural reef is home to commercial and recreational fishing activities and marine tourism, which are of economic and social importance to local communities.

The government specifies that the area proposed for classification includes the zone between the Alfanzina lighthouse, on the western boundary, and the Albufeira marina, a total surface area of around 156 km2, in the municipalities of Albufeira, Lagoa and Silves.

By classifying the Algarve Reef – Pedra do Valado Marine Nature Park, the government is complying with the European Union’s 2030 biodiversity strategy, which calls for at least 30% of maritime space to be classified under national jurisdiction by 2030.

The proposal is also aligned with the commitments made at the UN Oceans Conference 2022 and the 15th UN Conference of the Parties (COP) under the Convention on Biological Diversity at the end of 2022, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals, set out in the UN Agenda 2030, in particular Goal 14: Protect marine life.

During the public discussion period, the documents that make up the classification proposal process can be consulted on the Institute for Nature and Forest Conservation website at https://www.icnf.pt/, and on the ConsultaLEX website at https://www.consultalex.gov.pt/.

The documents can be consulted in person during normal office hours at ICNF headquarters, Avenida da República, 16, Lisbon, and at the Algarve Regional Directorate for Nature and Forest Conservation, located at the Marim Environmental Education Centre, Quelfes, Olhão.

During this period, interested parties can submit their comments and suggestions directly on the ConsultaLEX portal.

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