Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Toward the management of the sedlo seamount

The report "Toward the Conservation and Management of the Sedlo Seamount" is a contribution to objective application of scientific knowledge to practical conservation; which acknowledges the critical need for the timely input of appropriate scientific advice for the development of marine policy such as the establishment and management of marine protected areas (MPAs). Building on the "Seamounts Report" (Gubbay, 2003) and the "Offshore MPA toolbox" (Schmidt & Christiansen, 2004), it takes the form of a draft management plan for the Sedlo seamount and is intended to illustrate the issues, actions and role of science in the management of seamount ecosystems. It has been prepared as a contribution to the work of the Regional Government of the Azores and the University of the Azores on marine biodiversity conservation. The long term purpose is to provide a framework for the management of activities and interests of the Sedlo seamount.

In consultation with the stakeholders the boundaries for a future Sedlo MPA were agreed. The relatively large option chosen included the physical feature of Sedlo as well as the principal area of influence as suggested by modelling of water currents, which might act as a buffer zone. The proposed area extends across the 100nm zone where the Regional Government of the Azores has exclusive competence for management of fisheries. The area is entirely within the zone which the European Council have agreed is to exclude any bottom trawling, gill netting and/or trammel netting.

Given the presently low commercial interest, but considering its potential for supporting a deep water fishery, the draft management plan for Sedlo proposes to establish a strictly protected area around Sedlo, effectively closing the area to all fisheries. There was no stakeholder support for a multiple use area open to all activities, and a full closure was seen to make enforcement easier. Such a conservation measure could be a model of precautionary management as well as a safeguard against the uncertainty of the area being targeted for commercial fishing in the future.

Research was considered to be essential for reporting on the effects of the MPA and on the success or otherwise of the management measures. Scientific activity was therefore considered acceptable but with an emphasis on non-invasive techniques, invasive techniques being subject to licencing by the MPA management body.

Providing information and raising awareness about Sedlo will be essential to its successful management. Stakeholders are interested in the ecological effects of such a closed area and therefore transparency is the key to gaining their longterm support for this and other MPAs in the Azores. Regular monitoring of biological parameters is as vital for the credibility of the management arrangements as a good surveillance and enforcement programme.

While the majority of proposed management measures require the introduction of some regulations these requirements could be brought together into a few key statutes as part of the designation of the MPA by the Regional Government of the Azores. Regulation of fishing activity beyond the 100nm zone will require separate provisions from the European Commission and possibly ICAAT.

Informations connexes

Reported by

WWF North-East Atlantic Marine Ecoregion (NEAME)
Am Guetpohl 11
28757 Bremen