Algarve fishermen finally receive promised government subsidies

Following a two-month wait in which “whole families” were experiencing difficulties, Algarve fishermen have finally received promised government subsidies for complying with a ban on sardine and crayfish fishing since November

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the office of Minister for the Sea Ana Paula Vitorino said a €1 million pay-out through Operational Programme Mar 2020 was made on December 30 – in other words the 11th hour at which point national tabloid Correio da Manhã had already carried a damning article highlighting the fishermen’s plight.

As Olhão boatmaster Miguel Cardoso told the paper: “We all presented our candidatures to the programme in good time, but since then we have been waiting”.

CM quizzed the relevant entity over the delay, to report that “no response was given”.

But the very next day, €1 million was signed over to fishermen and companies in charge of 46 boats.

Payouts involve a total of €1,920 to each fishermen for a maximum of two months, with corresponding amounts going to trawling companies depending on their estimates for loss of income.

As the Ministry for the Sea explained, the ban on fishing is designed to allow for the ‘recovery of species’ and affects all kinds of fishing at different times of year. Goose barnacles, for example, have only recently been allowed ‘back on menus’, following a three-month ban from the end of September.

But since the ministry’s announcement, fishermen in the Algarve have made it very clear that the government’s payments are only coming through in dribs and drabs.

Of the 22 trawling companies sited down here, only five had received the thousands of euros they were waiting for by January 4.

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