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The ‘Rainbow’: The First National Marine Protected Area Proposed Under the High Seas

Marta Chantal Ribeiro

The discovery of the ‘Rainbow’, a hydrothermal vent field located in the Portuguese continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles, has prompted new thinking in our understanding of the law of the sea. In 2006, in the context of the OSPAR Convention, Portugal proposed the nomination of the first national marine protected area under the high seas. The subsequent acceptance of the proposal by the OSPAR Convention members makes Portugal a pioneer in the protection of marine biodiversity at an international level: first, because of the unique location of the marine protected area; second, because the nomination was accepted at a stage when the process of delineation of the outer limits of the continental shelf had not been concluded. The new juridical perspectives stimulated by these facts are addressed in this article.

Marta Chantal Ribeiro

The ‘Rainbow’: The First National Marine Protected Area Proposed Under the High Seas