By 2018-11-07 InPortugal

SOS Sado loses bid to suspend imminent dredging

In a fight with limited media coverage, thousands of citizens struggling to preserve the ecosystem of the Sado estuary have received another setback.

Almada’s Fiscal Administrative court has ruled that it can see “no urgency in stopping work that will start dredging of the Sado river in Setúbal”, and has thus rejected attempts at an embargo put forwards by action group SOS Sado.

The group that has already raised a petition with almost 13,000 signatures is adamant that it will go on fighting.

It claims the dredging of millions of cubic metres of sand (exact figures vary between 3.5 million and 6.5 million) will destroy a “marvellous and unique ecosystem”: both a nesting ground and home-from-home for over 220 species of birds and the breeding ground for Portugal’s only resident population of bottlenose dolphin.

If dredging goes ahead “none of this will be left”, says the group. But the court does not agree – or put another way, it has been persuaded that the widening and deepening of this navigational channel “will permit the circulation of larger ships”.

Against SOS Sado are all the relevant government agencies and Setúbal ports authority, including the ministry of the sea.

In a statement put out today, SOS Sado says it will seek a new court bid as it is “entirely focused on the struggle for the survival of the Sado estuary ecosystem and quality of life for Setúbal residents”.

On a recent trip to Portugal, veteran ocean campaigner Peter Neill of World Ocean Observatory recorded a message in support of this fight, referring to a “misplaced set of values” and the need to find 21st century solutions “to allow us to sustain society” (click here).

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