“ParticiPESCA” wants to involve everyone in the management of octopus fishing in the Algarve

The project involves 14 local Fishermen's Associations, representing more than 700 Algarve fishermen

The “ParticiPESCA” project, which aims to involve fishermen, researchers, local communities and entities in the management of octopus fishing and associated economic activity, will have its first presentation and discussion meeting today.

The initiative is aimed at the sustainability of the species and the fishery and counts on the participation of all those who depend on them.

"The main objective of the initiative is to implement a co-management model for octopus fishing in the Algarve, involving 14 local Fishermen's Associations, which represent more than 700 fishermen throughout the region, and other entities involved in the fishery," according to Associação Natureza Portugal/World Wide Fund for Nature (ANP/WWF), which leads the project.

“This is a crucial project to strengthen the implementation of co-management committees that allow the direct involvement of local communities in decision-making. Since the beginning of this year, our country has had a legal framework for these participatory bodies to take decisions and formally exist. Therefore, this project, which will have the participation of more than 700 fishermen and various institutions in the region, will undoubtedly be a milestone for the sustainability of octopus fishing in the Algarve, through the implementation of co-management», believes Rita Sá, coordinator of the ANP/WWF Oceans and Fisheries.

Thus, this initiative aims to implement and dynamize a co-management committee, ensure its proper functioning and develop a management plan for the fishery.

The management committee will include the region's fishing associations dedicated to octopus, scientists and specialists, the commercial sector, public administration entities and representatives of civil society, and also intends to respond to the issues already raised by the local community, during the Octopus Get-togethers.

These conversations were organized by the Center for Marine Sciences (CCMAR) of the Algarve, between 2014 and 2016, and promoted the discussion of various issues on the theme of octopus, such as the need for a closed season for the species, excess of silent arts at sea, insufficient communication between associations, need to value the resource, or even inadequate supervision.

The “ParticiPESCA” project “also intends to demonstrate the value of this participatory approach, making Portugal a successful example at European level, in the shared management of fisheries resources”, stresses the IPMA.

The expected results "involve more participation of local communities, therefore greater involvement and co-responsibility for decision-making", as well as "more value, therefore higher income for fishermen with less pressure on resources" and "more science, for greater knowledge to better manage».

In Portugal, «where more than 80% of the fishing fleet is dedicated to small-scale coastal fishing and the huge variety of species found here (many of which are not covered by the Common Fisheries Policy), this activity gains greater relevance from the point of view of stock management view'.

“Several studies indicate that the implementation of effective management measures is the best guarantee for an increase in stocks and income, together with an efficient way of adapting the fishing effort to the state of the resource”, he adds.

“ParticiPESCA” is a project led by the ANP/WWF, in partnership with IPMA, CCMAR and EDF, financed by Mar2020 and co-financed by the Oceano Azul Foundation.