Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are marine spaces entirely delimited in ocean waters, with the purpose of reinforcing the conservation of nature and marine biodiversity. They are endowed with specific legislation and the means necessary to fulfill their objective. Created to safeguard species and ecosystems, they contribute to the sustainable use of natural resources associated with the Sea.

The classification of MPAs is made according to different protection criteria, which result from different legislation and regulations. This stems mainly from the principles incorporated in the National Strategy for the Sea and from international commitments assumed by Portugal, both within the EU and under the OSPAR Convention.

DGRM is responsible for proposing the creation of protected marine areas, in conjunction with the national authority for the conservation of nature and biodiversity. The DGRM is also responsible for ensuring the management of MPAs of national interest and collaborating in the management of those of a regional or local scope, namely through the elaboration, evaluation and review of specific planning plans.

National Strategy for the Sea (2013-2020)
      Download (8.6 MB)

OSPAR Convention - Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic

 Marine Protected Areas of the National Network

    General information (DGRM)

    PSOEM Geoportal

    Detailed information about MPAs

    1. Continent

     Instituto da  Conservação da Natureza e da Biodiversidade

     Direção-Geral de Recursos Naturais, Segurança e Serviços Marítimos
Law of the Sea
      Download (1.5 MB)


    2. Autonomous Region of the Azores

    Direção Regional dos  Assuntos do Mar

    Parque Marinho dos Açores

    3. Autonomous Region of Madeira

    Direção Regional do Ordenamento do Território e Ambiente

    Parque Natural da Madeira



 MPAs Network Working Group

Considering the Sea as a national goal also involves considering the protection and enhancement of marine ecosystem services as a primary issue. Thus, by His Excellency's decision. the Minister of the Sea, and pursuant to Order No. 1/2017, of 6 March, a working group was created with the mission of assessing existing marine protected areas (MPAs), proposing the designation of new areas and propose an ecologically coherent national network of marine protected areas (NNMPAs).

RNAMP, as an instrument for the protection of marine life, will also contribute, in a relevant way, to support the sustainable management of fisheries and other human activities. This working group includes representatives from the following entities:

  • Office of the Minister of the Sea, who coordinates, and Office of the Secretary of State for Fisheries;
  • Regional Government of the Azores
  • Regional Government of Madeira
  • Directorate-General for Natural Resources, Safety and Maritime Services (DGRM)
  • Directorate-General for Maritime Policy (DGPM), Portuguese Institute of the Sea and the Atmosphere, IP (IPMA)
  • Mission Structure for the Extension of the Continental Shelf (EMEPC)
  • Hydrographic Institute, IP (IH)
  • Directorate-General for Maritime Authority (DGAM)
  • Ministry of Science and Technology and Higher Education
  • Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests, IP (ICNF)
  • University of Porto (CIIMAR)
  • University of Aveiro (CESAM)
  • University of Lisbon (MARE)
  • University of Algarve (CCMAR and CIIMA)
  • University of the Azores (DOP)
  • Platform of Portuguese Non-Governmental Organizations on Fisheries (PONG Pesca)
  • League for the Protection of Nature (LPN)
  • Oceano Azul Foundation (FOA)
  • Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds (SPEA)
  • WWF
  • Seas at Risk

The working group is extinguished with the presentation of the final report to the Minister of the Sea.

Working Group Report. June 2018

     Marine Protected Areas
     Download (1.7 MB)


    Resolution of the Council of Ministers No. 143/2019, of 29 August
    Download (5.6 MB)