Marine natural resources found in the seabed and subsoil that form the Portuguese continental shelf, including beyond 200 nautical miles, are intrinsically connected to the Portuguese State maritime public domain, who exclusively exercises all the powers inherent to that dominance, namely those related to exploring, exploiting, conserving and managing those resources.
In this context, Portugal has adopted a number of measures, within a precautionary approach, such as those relating to submarine seamount areas and hydrothermal vents, with the purpose to ensuring proper management and exploitation of all marine natural resources of seabed ??and subsoil and the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems, as well as the good conservation status of marine biodiversity.
These measures essentially aim at ensuring marine environment protection and preservation and information collection in order to contribute to the improvement of scientific knowledge about marine environment and its resources.
Bearing this in mind, Portugal has been reiterating in many international forums its determination to exercise its full powers by defining conditions for the exercise of the fishing activity, in order to preserve sea beds and their sensitive resources, such as sponges and corals, from the adverse impacts of that activity.
Thus, Ordinance n.º 114/2014, of May 28th, has created the necessary conditions for protecting sea beds from the adverse impacts of fishing activity, namely by interdicting the use and maintenance on board of fishing gear prone to causing negative impacts on deep-sea ecosystems, and creating the obligation to record and report on captured corals and sponges.
DGRM is responsible for ensuring, through managing and planning methods, the knowledge framework of natural marine resources available in the areas under national sovereignty or jurisdiction, concerning their inventory, use and spatial planning.
Coastal areas are of strategic importance in environmental, economic, social, cultural and recreational terms. Therefore, exploiting their potential and solving their problems demand a sustainable development policy based on integrated and coordinated management of these areas (Ministers Council Resolution n.º 82/2009, of 8th September).
DGRM is responsible for participating in the process of coastal zone integrated management and for monitoring territorial management instruments with effect on coastal and estuarine zones and maritime space.