Octopus fishermen claim “persecution”

The association of octopus fishermen in the Algarve has complained bitterly about what it claims to be “persecution and a hunt to secure financial fines” by the maritime authorities which, they say, is jeopardising their livelihood.

José Agostinho, president of Armalgarve – Associação dos Armadores da Pesca do Polvo do Algarve, said his members have often been obliged to sail back to sea to the locations to prove that they have not used illegal bait to trap octopus.

He claims this involves unnecessary expenditure on fuel for the fishermen at a time when profit margins on the capture and sale of octopus are precarious.

The accusation has been rejected by the commander of the South Maritime Zone, Malaquias Domingues, who said that irrespective of any convenience the authority had a legal obligation to control the capture of octopus, reported Correio da Manhã newspaper.

Last year, the use of live crab (caranguejo mouro) was outlawed by the Portuguese government.