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Vila do Bispo fights new mussel aquaculture off Sagres coast’s threat to traditional fishing

aquaculture mussellsVila do Bispo City Council is fighting the establishment of a new aquaculture site being set up in marine waters, in the open sea off Sagres (between Ponta do Barranco and Praia da Salema).

This comes following a request submitted by a company to be allowed to carry out aquaculture activity, relating to the installation of a culture establishment in marine waters to be called “Finisterra2”.

The company intends to grow and fatten mussels in an extensive total area of ??282 hectares, between Ponta do Barranco and Praia da Salema, which is under the maritime jurisdiction of the Captaincy of Lagos.

The proposal that is currently facing a public discussion stage is totally opposed by the municipality of Vila do Bispo; Budens Parish Council; the Sagres Fishing Owners Association; the Association of Artisanal Fishing of the Western Algarve; Barlapescas; and the Seafood Association of Vila do Bispo and Costa Vicentina.

The Municipality of Vila do Bispo has over the years, and in the last decade in particular, “invested thousands of euros in supporting artisanal fishing, namely in the construction of the new floating quay in Sagres, the construction of the new warehouse for preparing Burgau and Salema, various vests, rafts, isothermal boxes, vessel hauling equipment (for example, a tractor), fish transport vehicles, among other investments” argues the council in a statement sent to journalists.

For the municipality, “the implementation of this Aquaculture Activity License (TAA) will harm, or even eliminate, ancestral arts such as angling, buckets, cage traps, gillnets and trammel nets”.

The Institute of Nature Conservation (ICNF) has as its main function the safeguarding of fauna and flora (both terrestrial and marine), thus, they also chimed in, stating: “we cannot ignore the possibility of the negative environmental impact of aquaculture activity, through its massive size, which will influence, negatively , all biodiversity, that is native marine fauna and flora. Thus advancing indiscriminately with aquacultures in marine waters in a Natural Park will lead us to a marine environmental crime, comparable, on land level, with the occupation of greenhouses in the Mira irrigation perimeter. A wrong and purely economic decision will definitely damage the habitat and all the biodiversity of the Natural Park”.