Case study 7: NE Atlantic

Responsible: LĂșcia Guilhermino ICBAS, Portugal

The case study in the Atlantic will be the coastal area between the Minho river estuary (making the border Portugal-Spain) and the Ria de Aveiro (NW Portuguese coast). This area has several industries of great impact for the regional, national and the North Portugal- Galicia euroregion. Among these, several aquaculture s (fish such as Scophthalmus maximus and Solea solea , molluscs, crustaceans), 2 main harbours, 1 oil refinery, paper mill industries, marine facilities, several recreational activities connected to the sea, are of main interest. It also receives impacts from other types of industries, agriculture and urban effluents, mainly through important rivers (e.g. Douro river, that the greatest basin of the Iberian Peninsula) and their tributaries.

Protected areas, including the Minho river estuary (included in NATURA 2000), a Natural Park and other areas of high conservational interest, exist in the NW Portuguese coastal areas. Furthermore, natural populations of several species (e.g. molluscs, crustaceans, fish) are explored for human consumption. Therefore, investigating the impact of the aquaculture and other contamination sources in the water quality, biota and ecosystem functioning is of high interest, and spatial planning is urgently needed.

The increase of aquaculture industry in Portugal is one of the goals of the Maritime National Strategic Plan, and the improvement or maintenance of the good status of the marine water is a goal of regional, national and European Strategies (e.g. MSFD). The team involved in the project has been working in the NW coast of Portugal (ecotoxicological and ecological studies, monitoring and risk assessment), for more than 15 years in the scope of several national and international projects. Thus, a considerable amount of data is available for ECOAST, including data in spatial occupation, sources of environmental contamination and other impacts, among other types of data.