Construction of the desalination plant is a “tragedy” for Algarve fishermen

Quarpesca: «the eventual implementation of this project jeopardizes the quality and quantity of fish in our waters»

The construction of a desalination plant on the coast of the municipality of Albufeira is «a tragedy for fishermen», guarantees Quarpesca, the Association of Shipowners and Fishermen of Quarteira.

In a statement, Quarpesca guarantees that «the eventual implementation of this project jeopardizes the quality and quantity of fish in our waters and, consequently, makes it impossible for many fishing families who live from the sea to earn a living».

This is because, the association highlights in a statement signed by Hugo Martins, its president, «the effluent from the rejection of brine at sea», which will result from the operation of the desalination plant, contains, «in addition to the extracted salt, inorganic and organic chemicals, heavy metals and also a high content of microorganisms».

Furthermore, he argues, «the construction of the Desalination Station is contradictory to European Union Guidelines, because it does not promote the protection of the Algarve's coastal areas and sea, and does not respect the basic principle of “do not significantly harm (DNSH)” of the Regulation (EU) of public and private financing”.

«There is no shortage of news of unsuccessful experiments in Spain, where, for example in Ibiza, the brine is destroying the posidonia, an alga that is crucial to local marine life», he adds.

Quarpesca also says it does not understand that, with «a protected Marine Area, the Marine Natural Park of Recife do Algarve – Pedra do Valado, recently approved by the council of ministers», «just 5 miles away, one should even think about a project of this type» .

The aforementioned Protected Marine Area aims to “preserve the 1.294 marine species, of which 1.020 invertebrates, 141 vertebrates and 133 species of algae, identified by researchers, within these astronomical numbers, which included 447 species of commercial value for consumption, were also found 12 species completely new to science».

The fishermen represented by Quarpescas say they are «perfectly aware of the problems generated by the lack of water in the Algarve, especially because that same water (coming from rain) contains important nutrients for the development and attraction of various species of fish to the coastal areas».

«Millet, Sardine, Besugo, Cuttlefish, sole, Ray, Squid, Octopus, Sargo, Sea Bass, Seabream, etc., are some of the species we offer to our tourists and which are frequently fished in the area», they add.

They also criticize the fact that the installation of the desalination plant is planned for Rocha Baixinha, in the initial area of ​​Praia da Falésia, which they recall is «one of the most popular beaches for tourism. A pride for us Algarvians! We are even more proud because we are able to add quality to our visitors through our gastronomy, much of which is directly related to the sea».

For all these reasons, they argue, «desalination is a possibility that must be resorted to as a last resort – when all other alternatives have been exhausted».

Reaffirming its «disagreement» with the project, Quarpescas believes that other investments must be made first, in its opinion, to avoid losses of water in the urban supply network and irrigation networks agricultural.