Olhos de Água fishermen already have “new houses” for their work

On the narrow sandy beach, bathers of all nationalities and a community of men from the sea coexist

The Gomes family, next to the new facilities for fishermen – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação

Guilherme Gomes, 25, is one of the youngest fishermen on Olhos de Água beach, in Albufeira. Despite being an area where tourism prevails, in this small beach there is still a community of «30 or so fishermen». It was to give them more conditions that the City Council and the Parish Council came together to build new fishing facilities, which were inaugurated yesterday.

Guilherme comes from a family of fishermen, as his father and uncle are also dedicated to fishing. In his case, as he told the South Informationo, fishing for octopus, while his father and uncle «fish with nets».

The thirteen new wooden fishing stands, painted blue and white, with a green roof, replace the 16 old and degraded stands that used to be there. According to the local authority engineer who presented the works, these old installations were "degraded", some of them even showing "signs of collapsing".

The works, which cost 200 euros and were paid for by the Albufeira Council and the Parish Council of Albufeira and Olhos de Água, also included strengthening the supporting wall of the fragile sandstone cliff at the back of the houses and creating a structure for draining rainwater.

The winch house was also repaired and painted, where the equipment used to haul boats is kept, that is, to pull them from sea to land.

Taking advantage of an uneven terrain, a viewpoint was also created, which joins others already existing nearby.



With three meters wide by 3,80 m long and a small forward one meter in front, the new houses for the supplies now have better conditions. «They are wider, a little bigger», admitted young Guilherme, who, with his father, uncle and cousin, attended the opening ceremony, alongside other fishermen and their families.

Arquimínio Gomes, 63, recalled that «about 15 years ago, we had 16 boats here, but now we only have three large boats for seines and two small trawlers, the so-called artisanal fishing».

In addition to octopus, the most fished species are sardines, mackerel, bream and bream. Because there are no auctions in Olhos de Água anymore, the fish is then taken, in their own vans, to the auctions in Albufeira (all octopus is sold there) or Quarteira, where the price, according to Arquimínio, tends to be «higher» .

Also attending the inauguration was Vítor Cavaco, 71, who was born «in a little house next door» and has been at sea «since he was six years old», taken to work by his father, who was also a fisherman. Now, despite being retired, he still goes out to look at the sea every day, sometimes he even goes fishing for squid and cuttlefish, and confesses, with tears in his eyes, how he misses the trawler that was his.

When it was time for the family photo, everyone called for Vítor. «Come over here for the photo, you're the oldest!», shouted a companion.



Meanwhile, at the opening ceremony, Indaleta Cabrita, president of the Parish Council, highlighted the fact that these are «support houses for fishermen and the economic activities of Olhos de Água».

Underlining that the thirteen little houses now belong to the fishermen, the mayor asked: «please treat the storage with the same care and dedication that the Board and the Chamber put into this project, which is now yours».

For his part, José Carlos Rolo, mayor of Albufeira, recalled that «we had been intending to do these works for a few years now, but it was «difficult».

The mayor said that the space is «a little corner» of the municipality, but «with a lot of meaning», not only for fishermen, but even for «tourists to take their pictures». Rolo spoke at the same time as a group of foreign visitors walked by, towards the viewpoint at the top of the cliff facing the sea and then to the water holes (freshwater springs on the beach). Later, some of them photographed themselves in front of the new little blue and white houses.

«This is yours, cherish it!», concluded the mayor.

With the new, brand-new facilities as a backdrop, next weekend (from the 10th to the 12th of August), the fishermen's square of Olhos de Água will host another Sardine Festival. Arquimínio Gomes promises «excellent fish, really good».


Photos: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação and Rui Gregorio | CMA


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