João Ferreira, a Portuguese communist party member of the European Parliament, is to add his weight to resolve the continuing plight of the Ria Formosa fishermen and will address the issues related to the fishing zones in meeetings to be held in Olhão this Friday.
Ferreira’s visit is in response to a situation that has placed shellfish nurseries at risk of closure due to the re-classification of production areas thus limiting the marketing of produce. Progress has already been made with the government revising previously downgraded areas so many again can sell their harvest, but still not directly to the public.
Ferreira wants an immediate review of the classification of all the production areas of the Ria Formosa area. This also is the main thrust of the draft resolution to be submitted to the government by the Left Bloc which lists the following points:
1. Immediately review the classification of production areas to protect production and consumption, including the revocation or suspension of the order No.15264/2013.
2 . Conduct a rigorous evaluation of the water sampling and reclassify zones based on new analyses;
3 . Immediate intervention in the existing testing body, improving the quality of their service;
4 . Elimination of direct sewage into the Ria Formosa and its waterways with the construction of a new water treatment plant;
5 . Implement measures to control the origins of shellfish;
6 . Ensure the conditions for a fair and equitable share of the value of shellfish in the sales process, including ensuring a fair return for the work involved;
7 . If necessary to implement a wage guarantee fund;
8 . Provide funds and human resources to monitor and assess the state of shellfish production;
9. Review of the fees charged to shellfish producers."
There is, of course, a petition:
Many of the above points already are being dealt with by Aguas do Algarve and the local council which have coordinated work to speed up the construction of a new sewage treatment plant, and cleaning up the foul water outfalls from under the town that run directly into the Ria Formosa.
Most of the shellfish growing areas already have been re-classified since the government downgraded them due to EC pressure.
The visit of another politician can do no harm and with the source of the problem being dealt with – the direct discharge of foul, polluted water into the Ria Formosa – the time also has come to address the inequality in the production cycle where the shellfishermen appear to profit little from their labours, with re-sellers harvesting the gains.