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17,000 farmed fish released into sea off Fuseta island

Minister for the Sea Ana Paula Vitorino was in Olhão, in the Algarve, yesterday (Thursday) as the town’s pilot fish farming station released yet more scientifically-cultivated fish into the ocean.

In all 14,000 ‘corvina’ (sea bass) and 5,000 young ‘sargo’ (sea bream) were liberated, as Vitorino stressed that she hopes to conclude a national plan for the country’s aquaculture sector within the next two years.

The idea is to include shellfish nurserymen and professional anglers, reports Lusa.

Talking to journalists on board the boat that released the latest crop of fish into the sea (a similar amount were liberated in July), Vitorino highlighted the importance of giving professionals and the industry “stability in their expectations”.

Meantime, licences held by the country’s nursery-fishermen (most of which operate out of Ria Formosa) have been extended by six years – something that had looked impossible during the last government which had actually suggested all the licenses would go up for tender to foreign concerns.

The new situation means nursery-fishermen now have the freedom to bid for community funding under the Portugal 2020 programme, and “can make investments to improve their productivity, installations and quality”.

As to the fish raised in captivity and released alongside the island of Fuseta, they will both repopulate stocks in the sea and be subject for study on the behaviour of farmed fish “in the wild”.

Lusa explains the fish were reared in a birthing facility for nine species, and later moved to a ‘fattening up’ area housed in land-based tanks. Elsewhere, Olhão’s pilot fish farming station has an ocean ‘cage’ where it conducts off-shore fish-farm experiments.

PHOTO: Ana Vitorino on board the pilot station vessel that liberated 17,000 fish on Thursday.