Algarve could hold key to the “sardine crisis”

Minister of the Sea Ana Paula Vitorino has revealed that experts in the Algarve are developing a strategy to repopulate Portugal’s coastal waters with sardines.

In a conference set up to outline European funds available for Portugal’s developing Blue Economy, Vitorino said the strategy was in the hands of IPMA – the institute for the sea and atmosphere – based in Olhão.

IPMA is already working on a number of ‘fish farming’ projects in the Algarve.

The sardine strategy is “at its early stages”, though pressure is on thanks to the Brussels-based study which concluded that a 15-year ban was the only way to ensure the excessively-fished species didn’t die out altogether (click here).

As Vitorino explained, her understanding is that the looming ‘extinction’ is not simply down to excessive sardine fishing, but external factors, like climate change.

“Climate change provokes migratory flows of certain species to other seas where they feed other maritime predators”, she said.

Thus the home-grown ‘repopulation’ option, which will basically involve reproduction in captivity and then “placing” the species in “determined locations”.

It is early days yet – but it is further indication that Portugal means to row its own boat when it comes to domestic fishing, and not allow itself to be ‘bullied’ by Brussels (click here).

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