The isolated Altair Seamount lying to the west of the Mid-Atlantic ridge is considered to be a potentially near-pristine example of an oceanic seamount ecosystem. Although little-explored, it is likely to contain unique species, as well as sustain important concentrations of a wide range of fish and corals. The MPA is roughly 4408 km2 in size and is found in the North Atlantic just north west of the Azores.
As of Decmber 2010, the OSPAR Network of MPAs comprises a total of 181 sites, including 175 MPAs situated within national waters of Contracting Parties (CP) and six ABNJ MPAs. Collectively, these sites cover 439,679 km² or 3.15 % of the OSPAR maritime area in the North-East Atlantic. As the vast majority of sites have been designated in CPs‟ territorial waters, overall coverage of coastal waters by OSPAR MPAs is consequently higher at 14.1%. Overall coverage of offshore areas, i.e. the Exclusive Economic Zones of CPs, by OSPAR MPAs remains very low at 0.56%. The distribution of MPAs across the five OSPAR Regions is likewise imbalanced, resulting in major gaps of the MPA Network. The Greater North Sea, the Wider Atlantic and the Celtic Seas are the best represented OSPAR Regions, with 6.25%, 4.65%, and 3.53% coverage by OSPAR MPAs respectively. While coverage of the Arctic Waters is at 1.36%, the Bay of Biscay and Iberian Coast has less than 1% protected by OSPAR MPAs.
The aims of the OSPAR MPA Network are:
to protect, conserve and restore species, habitats and ecological processes which have been adversely affected by human activities;
to prevent degredation of, and damage to, species, habitats and ecological processess, following the precautionary principle; and
to protect and conserve areas that best represent the range of species, habitats and ecological processes in the maritime area.
Contacts & Resources
Original data record from World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) via ProtectedPlanet.net [view record on site].