Tourists have been avoiding the area; businessowners call for lasting solution
Work to remove the large amount of seaweed that has accumulated at Carvoeiro beach started today (June 21).
But the problem started on June 10 and 11, a week before the town’s famous Black & White party.
To ensure the event could take place without any issues relating to the algae, on Wednesday (June 14), Lagoa municipality used machinery to drag the seaweed into the sea in hopes that the tide would keep it away long enough for the party to go ahead on the Saturday (June 17). The remaining seaweed was pushed as close as possible to the water, with barriers being placed along the shore to prevent revellers from coming into contact with the algae.
Much to everyone’s delight, Carvoeiro Black & White Night was hailed the “best ever”, having attracted over 35,000 people and registered the “lowest number of incidents” in its nine-year history.
However, once the party was over, the seaweed saga continued.
To address the issue, Lagoa Council resumed clean-up works, this time following the same procedure used in September 2022 and contracted through a public tender, Lagoa mayor Luís Encarnação told the Resident.
There are currently two machines on the beach, with more vehicles due to arrive, according to the mayor. The algae – Rugulopterix okamurae (the invasive species that keeps accumulating at Algarve beaches in recent years) – will be collected from the sand and transported to an area near the FATACIL fairground, where it will be temporarily stored. It has not yet been decided whether it will be delivered to waste treatment company Algar, or if an alternative destination will be found.
Having allocated a €70,000 budget for seaweed clean-up works this summer, Lagoa Mayor says this will allow the local authority to act more efficiently in future should seaweed ‘invasions’ return “three or four more times”.
He revealed that the works today (June 21) cost around €20,000, not including the disposal of the algae in the landfill, where a fee of €80 per ton is charged.
Carvoeiro businesses affected
Businessowners in Carvoeiro are complaining about the effects of the seaweed on tourism, resulting in a significant decrease in tourist numbers in the town centre, as many holidaymakers opt for visiting other neighbouring beaches.
Their concerns are shared by the mayor, who recognises the “importance of tourism not only for Lagoa but also for the Algarve region”, and emphasised the contribution that Algarve tourism makes to the national gross domestic product (GDP).
The massive amount of seaweed at the beach has also disrupted the day-to-day operations of maritime tourism companies, preventing them from operating sea tours departing from Carvoeiro beach.
Luís Encarnação believes that this matter “should not be addressed by the municipality of Lagoa alone but by the government, through the Environmental Fund.” He also called for scientific research to be carried out promptly in order to establish whether this seaweed can be used.
The council recognises that the solutions found so far are temporary, which is why it is looking for a “lasting solution”, as it is expected that this issue will occur repeatedly throughout the summer.
Original article written by Beatriz Maio for Barlavento newspaper