Holy Mackerel! Algarve sees 60% surge in hauls of “cavala”

For anyone who likes mackerel (Portuguese translation of ‘cavala’) this has been a bumper year so far with catches increasing more than 60% in the Algarve. But sadly it doesn’t translate into much more profits for fishermen.

With an average price at fish docks at just 19 cêntimos a kilo, much of the ‘cavala mountain’ ends up being fed to tuna being raised in cages in the Mediterranean.

Miguel Cardoso of Olhãopesca has explained the increase, saying it has everything to do with the ban on sardine fishing (due to end next Monday).

“Cavala has a very low commercial value,” he explained, “which is why it is only viable in large quantities.”

Besides going to fatten-up tuna farmed in the Mediterranean, much of it is sold in fish markets or to the canning industry.

Meantime, the Algarve is waiting for the sardine season to really get moving with barely baited breath.

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