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Conservation success

Madeira’s history of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) began with the Selvagens Island Nature Reserve in 1971, the largest MPA in Europe with total protection. This milestone paved the way for further vital decisions to preserve the region’s wildlife.

Over the past decades, the region saw the creation of further protected areas, as well as nature reserves with restricted access. These include exclusively marine areas, such as the Garajau Nature Reserve, the Nature Reserve of Sítio da Rocha do Navio, the Marine Nature Park of Cabo Girão, the Marine Nature Park of Ponta do Pargo and the SCI Marine Protected Area that was created to protect cetaceans.

The effective management of all MPAs has so far helped to preserve the natural heritage of the region, encouraged solidarity amongst the local public in maintaining the health of the archipelago’s wildlife, facilitated the protection of specific species, and attracted scientists from around the globe to conduct research in the region.