Quarpesca demands more compensation for the creation of the Pedra do Valado Marine Park

Association of the fishing sector says it disagrees with the creation of this Marine Protected Area

Quarpesca - Association of Fishing Owners of Quarteira came out to criticize the Creation of the Marine Natural Park Recife do Algarve – Pedra do Valado, which «is far from being a peaceful decision», and wants to negotiate more compensation measures directly with the Government.

The proposal to create this marine protected area, which was coordinated by the Center for Marine Sciences and the Oceano Azul Foundation, will be in public consultation from the 22nd of June.

The document resulted from an unprecedented collaborative process in Portugal, which involved five dozen entities, including associations representing fishermen and the municipalities of Silves, Lagoa and Albufeira, along which the marine park will be located.

Even so, as admitted by Jorge Gonçalves, researcher at CCMar, in the last public presentation of the plan, which took place on the 5th of June, «there was no 100% consensus», as evidenced by Quarpesca's position.

The association guarantees that the economic model presented by CCMar «does not please the majority of fishermen and, in addition to economic compensation, advocates changing the operating zone of trawling vessels to eight miles (currently they can operate up to six) , allowing small coastal fishing to compensate for the space it will lose with the creation of the Park».

With regard to «removing the trawl to 7 or 8 miles, a wish of the sector», it was a possibility «that was not studied», revealed Jorge Gonçalves, in last week's session.

Despite criticizing the financial compensation model, Quarpesca says that the possibility of shooting down vessels operating in the area «is well received, especially in the coastal fishing segment, the most affected by the interdiction of this area. There is room to shoot down up to 10 boats. With the creation of the Park, the fishing effort will increase in the neighboring areas».

The proposal that goes to Public Consultation provides that the Natural Marine Park of Recife do Algarve - Pedra do Valado will have a total area of ​​156 square kilometers (km2), from the coast to 50 meters deep, facing the municipalities of Albufeira, Silves and Lagoon. In total, a no-fishing zone of 20 km2 will be established.

Of the latter, 4 km2 will be total exclusion and the remaining 16 km2 correspond to partial protection areas, which will guarantee the preservation of the reef with characteristics «unique in Portugal», which is distinguished by its rich biodiversity.

For local fishing (vessels up to 9 metres), an area of ​​50 km2 is reserved, and for general fishing, an area of ​​80,7 km2.

That is, in the vast majority of the park area, fishing will continue to be allowed.

«This is a multipurpose natural park, which allows virtually all activities, except those that are extremely harmful, such as dredging, the use of toxic materials or dragging gear. All other activities, with the proper framework, can be carried out», he assured the Sul Informação Jorge Goncalves.

Quarpesca, for its part, argues that «the sector most affected by this initiative will be professional fishing».

«Of the 200 vessels operating in the area at random, around 50 vessels are associated with Quarpesca, estimating, through surveys made to these 50 vessels, annual losses of around 3 million euros».

«The sector understands the need to protect resources, however it is unacceptable that the price to pay for the implementation of this project falls on the weakest fishing segment, small coastal and/or local fishing», they lament.

The compensation proposal made by CCMar, as explained by Jorge Gonçalves, will be determined using a formula that makes a relationship between the annual performance of the fishing vessel (the three best years of landings at auction between 2018 and 2022), the number of days of fishing per year, a percentage related to the loss of income, which was set at 20%, and a correction factor, related to the size of the vessel and the port of origin.

But that is not enough for Quarpesca, which concludes by announcing that it will "ask the Government for equality for all fishermen who operate there, regardless of the port of reference that the vessels have".




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