The quantity of octopus in Algarve waters is the highest in the last six years and has led to the market price dropping by a welcoming 50%.
There are about 400 boats and 2,000 fishermen engaged in capturing octopus, and last year the total catch reached 2,590 tons which was a 33% increase on the previous 12 months. So far this year, almost 1,000 tons has already been caught, according to statistics issued by Docapesca.
According to Hélder Rita, President of Quarpesca – Associação de Armadores e Pescadores de Quarteira, “octopus has appeared in force”.
A boat accustomed to bringing on board 100 kilos is now achieving a catch of 300 kilos, he added. The average selling price in the auction markets is just under €3 a kilo.
Carlos Silva, President of the Associação dos Armadores da Pesca Artesanal do Barlavento Algarve, also stressed the current abundance and the consequent fall in price which he hopes will continue. But both Rita and Silva have warned about the need to avoid “excessive fishing”.
Under European law, it is prohibited to catch an octopus weighing less than 750 grams and it is also forbidden since August to use live crab as bait.
Octopus is widely used in Algarvean cuisine, either in salads, in stews, fried or grilled.