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Goals and activities

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From the Shetland Islands to the Azores, i.e. from the UK to Portugal, marine biodiversity conservation is a key national concern addressed particularly by the creation of Marine Protected Areas.

There is a vast range of tools, approaches and goals behind the acronym "MPA" which need to be understood.


MAIA partners aim to enhance and share their wealth and differences to facilitate mutual understanding and foster the development of an efficient, coordinated and recognized network of marine protected areas in the Atlantic arc.

To support the process, the MAIA network:

  • Encourages and structures experience-sharing and pooling of different approaches;
  • Develops common methods;
  • Contributes to the emergence of a network of MPA managers.


The project is broken down into 4 technical working groups or ‘Work packages’ (WP), as they are known in Interrreg-funded projects.

  • State of play (WP1)
  • Common monitoring strategies (WP2)
  • Management plans (WP3)
  • Stakeholder integration (WP4)

The project also involves extensive communication action (WP5). Coordination tasks (administrative, financial and technical coordination) form WP6.

2010 – 2012 Action Plan

Technical workshops to address management issues common to marine protected areas in the Atlantic arc:

  • Portugal (November 2010): Implementation of indicators in MPAs and monitoring strategies
  • UK (September 2011): Integrating stakeholders into MPA designation and management processes
  • Spain (1st semester 2012): Defining and implementing management plans in MPAs
  • France (2nd semester 2012): 1st Conference of the Atlantic Arc MPAs Network

These workshops will be attended by many stakeholders involved in MPA designation and management such as managers, scientists and sea users including fishing professionals.

Site visits in each partner country to share information, knowledge and know-how between countries and

A dedicated website offering:

  • a specific collaborative space;
  • a document database;
  • a GIS database with input to the geo-portal and the dynamic editorial pages.

This database will be a benchmark for regular assessment of the status of marine protected areas on the Atlantic coast.

Field studies conducted by partners to meet their own needs and provide input for work within the network.

The development and distribution of documentary resources: field study reports, cross-sectional analyses, methodology guidelines, workshop proceedings and focus papers on MPAs.



MAIA is jointly funded by the Interreg IV B Atlantic Area (ERDF) programme

Priority 2 - Protect, secure and enhance the marine and coastal environment sustainably

Objective 2.2 - Sustainable protection and management of the resources of marine spaces


Total 3-year budget: 3,032,604

65% ERDF European Regional Development Fund

35% co-funding by the 9 project partners

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