Co-management of Octopus Fishing in the Algarve and Barnacle Harvesting in Berlengas arrives at AR

Draft Resolution of the Socialist Party recommends that the Government create and finance the Co-management Committee for Octopus Fishing in the Algarve and that the Co-management Committee for the Harvesting of Barnacles in the Berlengas Nature Reserve be provided with financial resources

Octopus fishing in the Algarve – Photo: Ruben Bento | Sul Informação (file)

The Assembly of the Republic debates on the morning of Friday, March 31 (4th item on the Agenda), a draft resolution of the Socialist Party whose approval could be decisive for the future of co-management of fisheries in Portugal, announces the ANP|WWF.

The proposal follows the appeal of Non-Governmental Environmental Organizations, scientists, fishermen associations and producer organizations for the urgent financial allocation of the Co-management Committee for the Harvesting of Barnacles in the Berlengas Natural Reserve (RNB) and for the implementation the creation and funding of the future Co-Management Committee for Octopus Fishing in the Algarve.

Co-management in fisheries was defined by Decree-Law No. 73/2020, of September 23, as a “shared management system for living resources and the means necessary for their capture and economic use, which aims at the sustainable management of resources and the implementation of the principle of maximum mutual collaboration”.

«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 monitoring and sustainable management 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 ANP|WWF.

The Co-Management Committee for the Harvesting of Barnacle (pollicipes pollicipes) in the Berlengas Nature Reserve was created by Ordinance n.º 309/2021, of December 17th. With its formal installation on March 28, 2022, the committee met to draw up the proposal for the Management Plan for this fishery, co-created by all stakeholders, which saw the light of day in January of this year (Ordinance n.º 16/2023, of January 4), but whose implementation urgently needs funding.

In the case of octopus fishing in the Algarve, the proposal under discussion aims to support the creation of the respective co-management committee, which will be the second of a fishery in Portugal, confirming the political will already announced by the tutelage.

«On the table, therefore, is the future of several years of work, studies and projects developed since 2014 to study and implement fisheries co-management in Portugal, such as the Co-Pesca 2 project – financed by Mar2020 and which had as partners the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, the University of Évora, the ICNF and the ANPlWWF, involving all shellfish gatherers from the Berlengas Natural Reserve (RNB) in the process», adds the ANP|WWF.

This project made it possible to «leverage the necessary actions for the implementation of a shared management of barnacle harvesting in the RNB, in a balance between environmental preservation and the exploitation of the resource».

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

All parties involved call for approval by the Assembly of the Republic of this proposal, calling on the Government to comply with the recommendation.