The summary of the report of the maritime expedition, to which Lusa had access, considers the occurrence of species that could form “coral gardens” to be significant, also gorgonians such as “Eunicella verrucosa” are classified as vulnerable species by the IUCN and “Leptogorgias” in the Cabo da Rocha area. To the south, “habitats” are protected under the OSPAR convention (organisation to protect marine environment of the Northeast Atlantic) and also under Portuguese law.
Near Cabo da Rocha “large agglomerations of coral (Cliona celata), was also found, this type of 'habitat', 'coral gardens' are also listed by the OSPAR convention”, points out the document.
To access pelagic species (which occur in the water column, close to the surface) and benthic species (which live at the bottom), video cameras with baited devices were used to attract the species that are difficult to observe when diving.
The BRUV (Baited Remote Underwater Video) devices were operated from professional fishing vessels and installed near the bottom or in the water column, collecting information at 107 points between Ericeira and Cascais, as well as on Camões Mountain.
The report calls attention to that “in general, the specific richness in the Camões Mountain was significantly higher than that in the coastal sectors (North, Center and South)” and that “among the 10 species with the highest biomass in the area studied, the most notable are the ones that form shoals”, such as tuna, lily, mackerel, bream and sea canary, also “some demersal and benthic top predators with solitary habits (“Conger conger”, “Scyliorhinus camicula”, “Serranus cabrilla”)”.
The Oceano Azul expedition – Cascais, Mafra and Sintra, which occurred from the 1st to the 12th of October 2022, was promoted by the municipalities, in partnership with the Oceano Azul Foundation, as part of the process of supporting the creation of a Protected Marine Area.