Trawling agony: lots of sardines “but they’re off limits” and too few mackerel

Algarve fishermen are in a new bind: for reasons that could be related to sea temperatures, ‘cavala’ and ‘carapau’ (both types of mackerel) are suddenly in short supply – and even though there are “abundant” sardines, fishing quotas will not let them be caught.

“In the past we went out looking for sardines and couldn’t find them. Now, there are lots and we have to look the other way because we are not allowed to catch them”, a source has been quoted as telling reporters.

President of the Algarve’s Barlapescas fishermen’s association Mário Galhardo told tabloid Correio da Manhã that trawling is now no longer economically worthwhile.

Rules in place until the end of this month mean crews can only catch a limited amount of sardines (20% of their total load). But as ‘cavala’ and ‘carapau’ are scarce, the 20% has become negligible.

Galhardo added that his association has appealed to the government to relax the rules, but so far there has been no reply.

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