Portugal’s Continente supermarkets are planning this year to sell around 900 tonnes of fresh sea bream from an open-ocean fish farm near Armona Island in Olhão.
The announcement was made in a statement to the press by Sonae MC, the retail company which manages the supermarkets.
Says the company, around €25 million will be invested in the plan until 2022.
“We aim to increase the total sale of national fish by over 20% in the first year of the project,” said Nuno Vital, Sonae MC’s head of the commercial department of fish.
He added that the project will double the amount of sea bream available on the market in Portugal, with the goal being to start farming other species in the coming years such as sea bass, snapper and white sea bream.
According to Sonae MC, Portugal is one of the world’s top fish eaters. On average, each Portuguese citizen eats around 57 kilos of fish per year.
However, the country does not produce enough fish to meets its demands, it says.
This is where fish farming comes into play. More and more people are buying farmed fish, Sonae MC stresses, with salmon, sea bream and sea bass among the top sellers, despite the fact that 93% of the farmed fish sold in Portugal is imported.
Says the company, fish farming is a sustainable way to make sure there is enough fresh fish to meet the demands of the population and stop overfishing.
“It also has a smaller environmental impact compared to other animal production sectors,” it adds.
However, fish farming – also known as aquaculture – remains a controversial topic. Supporters say that farmed fish seafood is more sustainable than other forms of fishing, while some believe these farms pollute surrounding waters.