Sciaena join cause fighting against aquaculture in Ria Formosa
Sciaena, a Portuguese non-governmental organization dedicated to environmental issues, have today expressed their disagreement with the recently proposed aquaculture project which is set to take place in the Ria Formosa Natural Park.
The environmental organization today submitted its contribution to the public consultation process which was started following a request for the installation of an aquaculture establishment within the Ria Formosa Natural Park, called for by a company called “Bivalves dos Areais”.
If approved, the project will allow for “the installation of production structures for oyster and clam species for up to 50 year, over a large area of ??approximately 10 hectares in front of Culatra Island”.
Sciaena say they have carefully looked at the project, but believes that it should not be allowed to go forward. The main reasons for the disagreement are due to the “ecosystem-wide impacts that intensive exploitation of species on the predicted scale could cause, notably on seagrass meadows, an essential habitat for many commercial species, as well as one of the most endangered and iconic inhabitants of Ria Formosa, the seahorse”.
“We are also concerned that the projected area contains a natural shellfish production bank currently operated by local people who, deprived of this site, would have to look for other areas to develop their activity, with considerable economic but also environmental impacts.”
As an interested and active entity in the region, Sciaena say that they are keen to promote and participate in a broader debate on the future of Ria Formosa production sites, which may include reactivation and denaturalization of currently inactive production zones as an alternative to new farms.
“Sciaena has as one of its main priorities the conservation of Ria Formosa, in order to safeguard its various essential functions, as well as to allow the sustainable use of its resources, based on the best scientific knowledge and ensuring the minimization of environmental impacts.”
“It is also important for Sciaena to integrate the various economic and human activities that take place in this Natural Park,” the NGO explained in a statement.
In the past few days the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF) and the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) have both issued opinions against this project. Furthermore, The Culatra Residents ‘Association, as well as the Southern Fisheries Workers’ Union are part of the cause.