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sewageThe Social Democrat MP Cristóvão Norte had announced he is to visit Olhão on Saturday. His mission is to understand the reasons for the downgrading of the shellfish nurseries in the Ria Formosa area and to look specifically at the issue of pollution which has been affecting water quality for years.

The fearless Norte will visit the sewage treatment plant to the west of the city and then be shown the various points at which sewage is pumped into the clear waters of the Ria Formosa.

shellfishThe government was 'hasty' in its decision to downgrade the Ria Formosa shellfish production areas, according to Socialist MEP Capoulas Santos during today's visit to Olhão, adding that the government should first have talked over the situation with the involved authorities and industry representatives.

Capoulas Santos met with representatives of the Ria Formosa shellfish associations who said its members had been shocked by the decision which lacked reason.

olhaoportAntónio Pina, the mayor of  Olhão, is ‘hoping’ that the downgraded production areas for shellfish in the Ria Formosa area of the eastern Algarve can be changed if the the Government intervenes at European Union level.

"We hope that the situation can be changed. The Secretary of State for the Sea has committed himself to intercede with the European Union and negotiate an exception for the Ria Formosa area, or insist that the EU justifies why the area has been downgraded," said Pina.

shellfishProducers of the famous Ria Formosa shellfish today protested outside the regional office of the Portuguese Institute of Ocean and Atmosphere, in Olhão .

Yesterday 500 shellfishermen had attended a meeting in Olhão's municipal auditorium to voice their anger at the sudden downgrading of their traditional shellfish harvesting banks which meant that many now are unable to sell their harvest on the open market.

riaformosaThe Algarve’s MPs have as one demanded that parliament's Maritime and Agricultural Commission urgently talk to the various bodies that oversee the Ria Formosa due to the surprise downgrading of many shellfish production areas.

"The MPs will apply to the Commission to conduct hearings in Olhão with those authorities and industry associations that oversee the Ria Formosa," read a statement from the socialist party in the Algarve today.

One concern is that the move is a pre-oil and gas downgrading of shellfish banks in preparatrion for chemical infiltration of the area when gas extraction starts. 

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