Marine Protected Areas Network in Porto Santo
It consists of the terrestrial part of all the islets surrounding the island of Porto Santo and the sea surrounding the Lime Islet, also known as Lower Islet, and the Upper Islet.
Included in this network are the six islets surrounding the island of Porto Santo, namely: the Cenouras Islet, Cal Islet (Baixo Islet), Farol Islet (Cima Islet), which is now also designated as the Dragoeiros Islet, Fora Islet (Rocha do Nordeste Islet), Fonte da Areia Islet and Ferro Islet as well as the sea surrounding the Cal Islet and Farol Islet including the zone where lies the sunken ship, Madeirense.
The objectives of the creation of the Marine Protected Areas Network of Porto Santo were many, especially the protection of biodiversity, the strengthening and dissemination of their natural, aesthetic and scientific values, the promotion of sustainable utilization of space, making compatible the use and defense of natural resources as well as the creation and promotion of a sustainable economy.
The six islets are included in Natura 2000. In its volcanic soil are coastal shrubs, which are important reminders of coastal flora of Macaronesia. The level of vascular flora identifies the presence of endemic species of Madeira as well as plants that are common to other Macaronesian archipelagos.
Regarding the fauna present on the islets, it ought to be noted that, besides the presence of birds, the islets have rich malacological fauna. The island of Porto Santo is an island of the archipelago which contains the most species and subspecies of land snails per unit area (rate of 104 in an area of 43 km squared), in which 80 percent are endemic.
The Network of Marine Protected Areas of Porto Santo was created in 2008 by the Regional Legislative Decree No. 32/2008/M on August 13th.