Espinho fishermen, featured on Youtube (

Fishermen demonstrate against fuel prices

“It’s not worth going to sea…”

Hot-on-the-heels of complaints in the Douro wine producing region, fishermen in the north have gathered today in Espinho to demonstrate against the price of fuel – saying if the government doesn’t given them support to ensure useful income, “it is not worth going to sea…”

As MPs in parliament thrash over the minutiae of the new government’s programme, the problems facing the country are stacking up on all sides.

Lusa has been talking to the leader of the Northern Union of Fishing Workers, Nuno Teixeira, who said one of the key measures his sector seeks is to see petrol get the same tax treatment as diesel.

“As there is no port here, the boats need petrol engines to have the power to climb the waves. It is a question of safety”, he explained

The problem is that “petrol prices have increased 40% since 2021”; the fuel used in the sector “is bought at the pumps at the same price it is available to any Portuguese”, yet the revenue that fishermen receive for fish remains the same – so, all told, the income left over for fishing professionals “is less and less”.

“The increase in fuel prices is causing us problems, and people are assessing whether or not it’s worth going to sea”, he said.

For José Ascensão this has already happened: “I haven’t been to sea. It’s not worth it”, he told Lusa.

“The government has to look at fishing with different eyes”, says Texeira, who says his sector wants “direct support” instead of measures that require applications and that take “many months” to effectively compensate fishermen.

Greater control over commercial practices in the sector is another of the union’s ambitions, considering that net income of fishermen is “often stifled by the interests of middlemen”, who “pay pennies” for fish that supermarkets then sell for “seven, eight, nine or 10 euros”.

In the case of Espinho’s seamen, there’s another “aggravating factor”: “As this area doesn’t have a fish auction, fishermen still have to go to Matosinhos if they want to sell their fish”, which again implies fuel costs

According to an estimate by the Northern Union of Fishing Workers, in Portugal, there are around 2,000 small-scale and coastal fishing boats that use petrol engines, and only one subsidy for petrol-powered boats – which requires six-monthly applications for “a reduction in the final price of petrol consumed” and which arrives via a “bank transfer that takes time to come”.

Source: Lusa