Published June 26, 2019 | Version v1
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SIMNORAT - Transboundary Stakeholder Workshop - Vigo - Spain and Portugal - 28/11/2018


In the framework of SIMNORAT project, last 28th of November of 2018, a workshop was organized in Vigo (Spain) to consider the implementation of a cross-border Marine Protected Area (MPA) between Spain and Portugal. This case study aimed to establish an scenario to identify and assess the issues (synergies, conflicts and gaps) between different activities/uses carried out in the area , as a result of the potential implementation of new transboundary protection figures between Spain and Portugal, around several seamounts near the limit of the continental shelf, as the Galicia Bank, where its high productivity has been demonstrated, together with the existence of numerous ecosystems located in the bank flank which creates a hotspot of biodiversity in the open ocean, favoring the presence of different species of cetaceans, marine turtles and seabirds.

The creation of MPAs implemented by management measures, is the best tool to protect and preserve the high value of the marine resources and biodiversity that this cross-border area stands. Due to the fact that these banks area located far from the main pressure focuses, the conservation status is quite high. Although the Galicia Bank is situated far from most of the human activities, normally localized closer to the coast,, the correct management of fishing, maritime traffic and the possibility of laying underwater cables is vital to prevent future impacts and pressures that could modify oceanographic conditions or threaten the biodiversity. In order to design coherent Management Plans to ensure the long-term conservation of marine biodiversity in the study area, a round-table exercise was promoted in the workshop to discuss ideas, synergies and conflicts regarding the potential cross-border MPA.

To address those issues, 32 stakeholders from both countries clustered around 6 sectors with potential interests in the study area: (1) Conservation (2) Marine Research (3) Fisheries (4) Navigation (5) Energy and Mineral Resources and (6) Renewable Energies. The workshop was structured on several round tables with 2 different sectors met between them, with always a representation from research and conservation sectors in each table, as those sectors were considered crosscutting themes in the workshop, to identify and spatially translate the interactions between their activities.

Shared conclusions from the round tables highlighted the lack of strong conflicts between activities in the area to be protected as its ecological value is well demonstrated but has little relevance for fishing, uncertain interest for mineral resources exploitation, low number of navigation routes crossing the area, and renewable energy platforms are unfeasible at that distance from the coast. There was consensus on the convenience of data/information exchange platforms to optimize research investment and knowledge progress on the available resources of the area. Finally, there was general agreement on the need of a stable communication mechanism between governments and stakeholders allowing the implementation of common governance mechanisms and management plans for this cross-border Case Study.


Here you can find the materials of this event. Please note that most of the documents are only available in Spanish and Portuguese. For further information please consult the project deliverable of this case study (English).



These documents were produced as part of the SIMNORAT Project (Grant Agreement N0. EASME/EMFF/2015/ Competition for maritime space – for renewable energy equipment, aquaculture and other uses – has highlighted the need to manage our waters more coherently. Maritime spatial planning (MSP) works across borders and sectors to ensure human activities at sea take place in an efficient, safe and sustainable way. That is why the European Parliament and the Council have adopted a legislation to create a common framework for maritime spatial planning in Europe. The Directive 2014/89/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 (said Maritime Spatial Planning Directive) establishes a framework in order to reduce conflicts between sectors and create synergies between different activities, to encourage investment – by creating predictability, transparency and clearer rules, to increase cross-border cooperation – between EU countries to develop energy grids, shipping lanes, pipelines, submarine cables and other activities, but also to develop coherent networks of protected areas, and to protect the environment – through early identification of impact and opportunities for multiple use of space. The SIMNORAT project (Supporting Implementation of Maritime Spatial Planning in the Northern European Atlantic) is an EU/DG Mare co-funded cross-border project. It was launched on 1st of January 2017 and involves Portugal, Spain and France, while these countries had just designated their Competent Authorities and transposed the Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) Directive. SIMNORAT aims to support the implementation of the MSP Directive in the waters of Portugal, Spain and France, as well as to establish cross-border cooperation mechanisms between these Member States, to contribute to the coherence of their marine spatial plans to be established in 2021. The action ran until 31st of January 2019 and was based on a partnership of public bodies of the countries and one international organisation. It was composed of UAVR, CEDEX, IEO, AFB, CEREMA, Shom, and CPMR. Shom acted as coordinator. The objectives of the SIMNORAT project were addressed through a variety of activities and desktop or case studies. They are dedicated to identifying the methodology steps, and explore the challenges and opportunities of the MSP implementation in the Northern European Atlantic, including thus related to transboundary issues (Ecosystem based approach, marine policies, OSPAR Convention, Land Sea Interactions, geographical scale of the plans, data interoperability, tools to support MSP). The project led to a multiplicity of outputs including overviews of MSP relevant information related to the countries and on more focus areas, to a number of interviews and meetings where stakeholder views were collected to feed the reasoning, and to guidelines and good practices to be shared at a national and transnational level with marine stakeholders, scientific as well as planners, administrations and authorities. In addition, SIMNORAT permitted a lot of progression internally in the countries and regarding transboundary cooperation. It led to establish and develop new dialogues and to connect the technical or scientific actors, the stakeholders, the administrations of the countries of a same sea basin, and the administrations within the countries, including the representative of Regions. It allowed to better understand Maritime Spatial Planning mechanisms, to share knowledge and as such reached to build capacities, which is of importance as there is such a need in the Atlantic area compared to more Northern countries. The project also permitted to address topics which have never been addressed before. The involvement of France and Spain in SIMNORAT and in the EU-DG Mare sister projects SIMWESTMED and SIMCelt was useful for them to develop a global vision with their neighbours in the Western Mediterranean. At the end of this exercise, it is stated the need of pursuing the work and dialogue in particular through common tools, but at this stage, the SIMNORAT project has constituted a common knowledge and background. D I S C L A I M E R: The contents and conclusions of this report, including the maps and figures were developed by the participating partners with the best available knowledge at the time. They do not necessarily reflect the national governments' positions and are not official documents, nor data. The European Commission or Executive Agency for Small and Medium sized Enterprises is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.



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