Fishermen deliver recommendations to the Government for the octopus co-management committee

Faro hosted the closing forum of the ParticiPESCA project

Fishermen's associations and partners delivered to the Government, last Friday, December 9th, recommendations for the future octopus co-management committee. 

Faro hosted the closing forum of the ParticiPESCA project, created with the aim of promoting the co-management of octopus fishing in the Algarve, and attended by Teresa Coelho, Secretary of State for Fisheries.

Co-management is a shared management regime for a fishery or fishing area, defined by decree-law in 2020, placing Portugal as a leading and innovative country in the European context.

«This is a new paradigm in the management of fisheries resources – based on a participatory process that must be inclusive, transparent, informed, accessible and based on science, and in which everyone has a voice and decision on the future of the activity –, which It can be operationalized through the creation of a Co-Management Committee, with regulatory competence, whose function is the sustainable management and monitoring of the fishery or respective area, in accordance with scientific knowledge, evaluating the available data and coordinating the various activities involved, approving and monitoring the execution of management plans», explains the organization.

Funded by Mar2020 and co-financed by the Oceano Azul Foundation, ParticiPESCA, led by ANP|WWF in partnership with IPMA, the Center for Marine Sciences (CCMAR) of the University of Algarve and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), had precisely as the main objective to implement co-management for octopus fishing in the Algarve.

For two years, and continuing the work initiated by the Oceano Azul Foundation with the EDF, the project involved 15 Fishermen's Associations and Producer Organizations, representing more than 700 fishermen throughout the region, in addition to other entities involved in the fishery such as administration, the scientific community, non-governmental organizations and the commercial sector.

Rita Sá, coordinator of Oceans and Fisheries at ANP|WWF, explains that, «based on the legislative, technical and scientific information available, it was possible to reach a consensus within the working group of this project, plans and visions for the next decade: all parties They want to have, by 2035, profitable and sustainable fishing that is socially just, contributing to a balanced ecosystem, attractive to young people, that improves the socio-economic condition of fishermen and that safeguards food security».

This will be the second co-management committee for a fishery in Portugal: confirming the political will already announced by the authority, this fishery should now follow the formal steps outlined in a pioneering way by the Co-management of the Harvest of Barnacle in the Berlengas Nature Reserve, whose committee was created by Ordinance n.º 309/2021, of December 17th, and formally installed on March 28th.

In the case of the Algarve, and according to the recommendations given to the Government, the Co-Management Committee, supported by a General Assembly that takes the decisions and an Executive Committee that develops the proposals, should be made up of Associations of Fishermen or Organizations of Producers in this area of ​​intervention , by entities with competences in the marine administration – such as the General Directorate of the Maritime Authority (DGAM), General Directorate of Natural Resources, Safety and Maritime Services (DGRM), Docapesca, ICNF and GNR Coastal Control Unit – Municipalities, organizations scientific institutions – such as CCMAR and IPMA – and environmental organizations such as PONG-Pesca, EDF and Fundação Oceano Azul.

«If confirmed, the management and monitoring of this fishery will no longer be solely under the responsibility of the Government and the Administration. Scientific knowledge, the experience of fishermen and environmental concern for the protection of the resource and the survival of coastal communities will go hand in hand in the construction of regulatory, monitoring and inspection processes for octopus fishing in the Algarve», concludes Rita Sá.