MPAs in areas beyond national jurisdiction

OSPAR has also agreed to consider proposals from Contracting Parties and observers on possible components of the OSPAR network of MPAs in areas of the North-East Atlantic outside the jurisdiction of the Contracting Parties and where appropriate consider with other authorities how such areas could be protected. Since 2007, OSPAR has been considering proposals for several sites in ABNJ as possible MPAs. The 2010 OSPAR Ministerial Meeting took the significant step of adopting OSPAR Decisions establishing six MPAs in ABNJ and OSPAR Recommendations on their initial management. This was followed, in 2012 by the designation of a seventh MPA in ABNJ, including a Recommendation for management. OSPAR continues its liaison with other international competent authorities and relevant bodies to further develop management measures for these sites, including through bilateral arrangements and the development of a collective arrangement between competent international organisations applies to selected areas in areas beyond national jurisdiction in the North-East Atlantic.

In June 2012, OSPAR welcomed the initiative of WWF to develop a media outreach website: Charlie-Gibbs Marine Protected Area – Preserving Diversity in the High Seas. The development of the site was supported by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation with funds from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. The site is available at

Jurisdiction of OSPAR MPAs in areas beyond the limits of national EEZs

The 10 OSPAR MPAs nominated until 1 October 2016 in areas beyond the limits of national EEZs of CPs, i.e. the High Seas, the Area, and ECS areas, can be grouped into different categories with regards to their jurisdictional regime:

1) Charlie‐Gibbs South MPA and Milne Seamount Complex MPA

These two MPAs are situated entirely in ABNJ. The seabed, the subsoil and the water column are protected collectively by all OSPAR CPs. 21 Reservation of the Kingdom of Denmark: The area to which the UK nominations is sought to apply falls within the proposed outer limits of the Kingdom of Denmark in relation to the Faroe-Rockall Plateau, which consistent with paragraph 8 of Article 76 of UNCLOS and Article 4 of the Annex II thereto, have been submitted to the UN CLCS, and whose consideration is currently pending.

2) Mid‐Atlantic Ridge north of the Azores High Seas MPA, Altair Seamount High Seas MPA, Antialtair High Seas MPA and Josephine Seamount Complex High Seas MPA

These four MPAs are situated within an area subject to a submission by Portugal to the UN CLCS for an ECS. Portugal has expressed the intention to assume the responsibility to take measures for the protection of the seabed and the subsoil within these areas. Upon invitation by Portugal, the OSPAR Commission agreed to collectively protect the water column of these MPAs.

3) Charlie‐Gibbs North High Seas MPA

This MPAs is partly situated within an area subject to a submission by Iceland to the UN CLCS for an ECS. The water column is protected collectively by all CPs. The seabed and the subsoil remain unprotected.

4) Rainbow Hydrothermal Vent Field, Hatton Bank SAC and Hatton‐Rockall Basin

These MPAs are situated within areas subject to a submission by a CP to the UN CLCS for an ECS. The seabed and subsoil of these sites are protected by the respective CP, while the water column remains unprotected.