Site details

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5 stars - Fully protected as a national park or Natura 2000 site by national legislation
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Ilhéu da Vila on the south coast of Santa Maria island. Photo:

Synoptic description of site:

Stretch of coast 30 Km wide displaying the typical environment of the islands’ sheltered south coasts.

Extensive description of site:

Located in the coastal area of Santa Maria Island within a square from 36º55,7'N, 25º10,5'W to 36º55,2'N, 25º’01'W, this stretch of coast 30 km long displays the typical environment of the islands’ sheltered southern coasts. It comprises very diverse intertidal and sublittoral sandy and rocky habitats along a stretch of shallow coast dominated by soft bottoms, including large sandy beaches, sheltered bays, small reefs and one islet.

Habitats present:
Littoral XX
Sublittoral XX
Seagrass beds 

Description of fauna and flora:

The islet has several caves and in its interior it is possible to see less common species for the Azores, such as Tylodina perversa.

Human impact:

A series of fish species are targeted by artisanal fishermen.


Research is conducted on fieldtrips such as the ones carried out by the University of the Azores in previous years, taking advantage of local facilities (harbour, nautical and diving clubs, fish auction warehouses, etc.). The island is served by regular flights from other islands.


Commitment and ongoing research:

There is a written commitment by individual scientists to an agreed programme of activities. Several papers and reports dealing with algae, benthic invertebrates, fish, seabirds and cetaceans have been published or are in preparation, resulting from the University expeditions during the last decade. Other papers deal with exploitation and conservation aspects.

Additional Information:

Species, habitats and Maps: several papers and reports (MARÉ/ EU - LIFE98NAT/P/5275 and CLIPE/ PRAXIS XXI - 3/3.2/EMG/1957/95); Santos et al., 1995. Aquat. Conserv. Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst., 5: 311-354.; Morton et al., 1998; and references therein); General bibliography: Santos et al., 1995. Aquat. Conserv. Fresh. Mar. Ecos. 5: 311-354.