Ilhas Desertas Nature Reserve
The Ilhas Desertas (total area of 1 421 hectares) include the Ilhéu Chão, Deserta Grande and Bugio. They are at about 22 miles to the southeast of the town of Funchal.
The islands constitute the last refuge of the monk seal named MonachusMonachus. The presence of these mammals led the Regional Government of Madeira to create the protected area of Ilhas Desertas in 1990. In 1992 the European Council classified these islands as Bioenergetics Reserve.
It is important to mention that the total ban of scuba fishing in this reserve. Advance permission from the park authorities is also needed before any vessel can anchor or visit Deserta Grande Island.
No boats are allowed to sail through the southern part of the reserve.
Ilhas Selvagens Nature Reserve
The Selvagens islands include two groups of small islands. Most notable of these are Selvagem Grande, Selvagem Pequena and Ilhéu de Fora. They are about 180 miles from Madeira Island and form the southernmost territory belonging to Portugal.
Garajau Parcial Nature Reserve
This reserve, created in 1986, is on the south coast of Madeira Island, at the extreme east of Funchal Bay. It is a marine park that includes a strip running from the high tide line and into the sea to a depth of 50 metres.
Amongst the fauna of this park are larger fish such as the (Epinephelus guaza) "mero" in Portuguese and also a variety of other coastal species. Groups of Atlantic manta rays (manta birostris) can be seen here every year. Their size and graceful movement has transformed the area into an international attraction.
Any fishing activity is forbidden inside the park. Navigation is also highly controlled. Only small boats are allowed to approach the beaches. There is infrastructure and support for scubadiving.
Ponta of S. Lourenço Nature Reserve
At the east end of Madeira is the Ponta de S. Lourenço Nature Reserve, set up in 1982.
It has a particular fauna and flora, thanks to important local groups pratically confined to this area. It also has an observation post for environmental education.
Rocha do Navio Nature Reserve
Porto Santo Network of Protected Marine Areas
The Porto Santo Network of Protected Marine Areas comprises the areas of the six islets around the island of Porto Santo, namely, the islets of Cenouras, Baixo or Cal, Cima or Dragoeiros, also known nowadays as Farol, Fora or Rocha do Nordeste, Fonte da Areia and Ferro, and the marine area surrounding the islets of Cal and Cima, including the spot where the shipwreck of O Madeirense lies.
All surface areas of the six islets are a Special Conservation Area, part of the Natura 2000 network.
The islets, in spite of their inhospitable appearance, hold a natural heritage that demands conservation, for their scientific and natural important features, as well as, outstanding landscape.
The shoreline vegetation displays important examples of the coastal flora of Macaronesia.
They are also favoured locations for sea birds to nest.
There is abundant and varied sea fauna, in part due to the shipwreck of O Madeirense, which has become an excellent location for diving.