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MAIA application area

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MAIA’s ambition is to integrate all marine protected areas officially recognised as such by the five countries bordering the North-East Atlantic (Ireland, the UK, France, Spain and Portugal), whether they are coastal or offshore, and totally or partially marine.

From the Shetlands to the Azores, from the coasts to the high seas of the North-East Atlantic Ocean

Several marine areas are defined in the North-East Atlantic; the main ones stem from international or European legislative frameworks such as:

  • the OSPAR Convention,
  • the RACs (Regional Advisory Councils),
  • the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

MAIA covers:

  • Three of the five regions defined by the OSPAR Convention: III The Celtic Seas, IV Bay of Biscay and Iberian Coast, V Wider Atlantic.
  • The areas of three Regional Advisory Councils: North Western Waters RAC, South Western Waters RAC, and part of the Long Distance RAC.

Map of the MAIA area of application (MAIA 2010-2012 project partner countries are shaded in dark grey)

The MAIA 2010-2012 project receives funding under the European Interreg IV B Atlantic Area programme which defines areas of eligibility consisting of 40 regions according to the European nomenclature NUTS2, from the Highlands in the north of Scotland to Andalusia in southern Spain.

Zoning defined by the European Interreg IV B Atlantic Area programme.

 Zoning defined by the OSPAR Convention

Map of the OSPAR Convention zoning
I. Artic Waters
II. Greater North Sea
III. The Celtic Seas
IV. Bay of Biscay and Iberian Coast
V. Wider Atlantic

Zoning defined by the Common Fisheries Policy relative to the Regional Advisory Council Areas

Map of the Common Fisheries Policy zoning relative to the Regional Advisory Council (RAC) areas.

The RACs consist of management units based on biological criteria. They cover sea areas which are the concern of at least two Member States. An RAC is therefore established for:

Where a matter is of interest to various RACs, they will coordinate their positions and adopt joint recommendations on that issue.

Zoning defined by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD)

The MSFD zoning is based on existing zones defined by the regional seas conventions (OSPAR and Barcelona). The MSFD defines four marine regions:

  • the Baltic Sea;
  • the North-East Atlantic Ocean: Bay of Biscay, the Celtic Seas, the North Sea including the Channel;
  • the Mediterranean Sea;
  • the Black Sea.

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