Algarve wants more aquaculture and spatial planning in the National Strategy for the Sea

Strategy is in public consultation until November 2nd

Photos: Nuno Costa | Sul Informação

There is a lot of concern about environmental issues – "and well!" – and little emphasis on production. What does not exist in the Government's proposal for a National Strategy for the Sea, in the eyes of the Algarve, is references to Spatial Planning and measures that allow the Economy of the Sea, namely aquaculture, to also be carried out… away from the sea.

The city of Faro was chosen to host the first presentation and debate session, within the scope of the Public Consultation of the proposed National Strategy for the Sea 2021-2030, which began on 28 September and lasts until 2 November.

Ricardo Serrão Santos, Minister of the Sea, was this week in the Algarve capital to hear what the region's forces had to say about the strategy. And it quickly became clear that there were many people with something to say, from professionals and businessmen in the sector, to researchers, including mayors and other holders of political positions.

From the outset, about aquaculture and what they considered an inconsistent approach to this economic activity.


Ricardo Serrão Santos – Photo: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação


One of the gaps identified in the strategy is the fact that it focuses too much on aquaculture. off-shore and multitrophic, forgetting what is done in transitional waters, namely the production of bivalves, and aquaculture inshore.

And this is where the issue of spatial planning comes in: it is that, in a tourist region and with strong urban pressure on the coast, it is difficult to find spaces along the coast for aquaculture.

In this way, both António Pina, president of AMAL – Algarve Intermunicipal Community and the Olhão Chamber, as well as Pedro Pousão, researcher and responsible for IPMA's Pisciculture Pilot Station of Olhão, as well as the representative of the National Aquaculture Association consider that it has that there are changes to the National Agricultural Reserve regime, so that aquaculture farms can be installed on land with this classification.

“There is an aspect that they pointed out here that has a lot to do with the Algarve region, which is the issue of spatial planning. It was pointed out here that the agricultural reserve should eventually be called a food reserve, because what they say – and they are right – is that any aquaculture, be it offshore, multitrophic or recirculating in tanks, it needs space on land to be productive and to support its own productive activity. And this is an aspect, in fact, to be taken into account," he told the Sul Informação Minister Ricardo Serrão Santos.

The member of the Government stressed, moreover, that he came to the Algarve «to listen, absorb and make known better the framework that, in the meantime, we have brought to society for public discussion. This is not the National Strategy for the Sea, this is a proposal for a strategy, which has already been discussed in different ministries, receiving comments from different ministries, but which has now been opened to the whole of society and which will make its way to the end of the year".

The challenge for wider participation, which can be done through this link, where all the strategy documents are also available, also came from Helena Vieira, director general of Politics of the Sea.


Helena Vieira from DGPM – Photo: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação


“We are at the proposal stage. As the minister said, this plan is yet to be changed," said the official, in statements to the Sul Informação.

Hence, the director general of Maritime Policy repeated several times during the session that contributions should be made in writing and through official channels, to be considered in the preparation of the final version of the strategy.

It was Helena Vieira who had the mission of making a general presentation of ENM, which is now in its third version.

This time, the authors of the strategy tried to do something different. “The strategy is the guiding document. Then we have the action plan, which is the implementation roadmap».

The action plan has 160 measures, «30 of them emblematic, due to the multiplying effect they will have on society».

“For example, the classification of up to 30% marine protected areas is one. But we also have, for example, the development of the Campus do Mar, the voucher blue employment, the encouragement of qualified employment in the area of ​​the blue economy and the aquaculture roadmap», he exemplified.

«We have here some measures that, once implemented, have an impact on various areas of intervention, on various strategic objectives and, in the long term, have a significant impact on society. Therefore, they create jobs, create added value, create economy», summarized Helena Vieira.

In the action plan of the strategy for 2021/30, “a matrix structure was used, in which we outline concrete measures to be implemented”, an “innovation” in relation to the previous ones.

“We are going to write, in front of each measure, who is responsible for it, who has to implement it, among the different agents in the entire value and governance chain, because there are some that are to be implemented at the level of the Government, others at regional and local level or even at the level of civil society», explained the director general of Politics of the Sea.

“I think the big difference in this action plan has to do with its immediate application on a daily basis. Any agent in the area of ​​the economy of the sea, any government, can easily open the plan, see their area of ​​intervention and choose the measures that are, in fact, within their competence. Basically, it's about knowing what we have to do,” he added.


Photos: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação


Helena Vieira stressed that the idea of ​​the team that developed the strategy was that it should be “useful from the common citizen to the government at the top of the governance chain”.

“This is also a way for ordinary citizens to be able to understand what is being done and in which areas. That's the organization we tried to give. Anyone can open the strategy and understand “ok, they are betting here and here, the sea is important for this and this”», concluded the director general of the Policy of the Sea.

Another issue raised by the participants in the session was the almost disappearance of the word fishing from the strategy for the Sea.

In this field, the minister defends that fishing “has to be done in accordance with sustainability, the maximum sustainable yield of the fish stocks themselves”.

“It is in this direction that we have to work. We have to review our structure. Some boats, as they said here, are old, the very form of energy they use has to be seen. There are a series of reforms that have to be made in favor of maintaining sustainable, active and economically viable fishing», believes Ricardo Serrão Santos.



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