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It has been brought to ASMAA's attention that the Portuguese government has passed a new law on the 22 November 2013, under the guise of the European Commission stipulation of higher standards for health and safety mechanisms - ensure that the production of shellfish is 'fit' for consumption - and which has resulted in the immediate downgrading of many shellfish production areas in the Algarve.





Now one would think that this new law would be of great benefit to the standards of our seafood industry. However, in delving deeper through the maze of legalities and joining all the dots, ASMAA has uncovered the true agenda of this new law and the negative impact it will have on our people going forward.

At face value, the new law stipulates that any person or business in the seafood industry will now only be allowed to sell to big players (the big boys) outside of their surrounding network and area if at all - meaning that an individual fishermen, who's livelihood is the seafood industry and was until now dependent on selling directly to the public via markets or private businesses such as a restaurant owner, will no longer be able to do so.

We must also not forget, that last year during the oil and gas seismic survey period, fisherman were restricted on where they could fish - meaning that an individual fishermen, who's livelihood is fishing had to go further to get their fishing catches; many were forced to spend their hard earned cash on diesel and petrol for their boats if they went out at all. Many didn’t because they just did not have the additional cash needed.

Add to that the fact that the government has allowed various poluting factors to go unattended for the last few years in the Ria Formosa area - which we cannot but ask why? Why has the government allowed this state of affairs to happen? Who stands to benefit directly and indirectly? Why was so much focus been put on other external factors but not a wisper of the oil and gas threat is heard anywhere?

There is no doubt that the fishing and seafood production industries are under serious attack in the Algarve. In ASMAA's opinion when we add this new legislation to what we already know, we see it having a massive 'Red Flag' written all over it.

ASMAA immediately poses some questions:

  1. Why is it acceptable to sell the seafood to corporations and unacceptable to sell to the end user?
  2. Why is the regulation targeted only to the area between Vila Real de Santo Antonio and Faro – especially in the Olhao region?
  3. What is going to be done about the 4 500 jobs that will be lost because of this new legislation?

In studying the documentation further it seems rather 'coincidental' that the areas most affected by this degrading of our shellfish industry are the very same areas where oil and gas will be explored early in 2014, located between Vila Real de Santo Antonio and Faro.

So now we're talking reality check.

“Senhor” government puts enough economic pressure on the local fishermen and on the seafood industry so that they opt out of the industry. If they can't fish, or they can’t market their shellfish directly to the public - they can't earn. They also don't get in the way of the oil exploration which will pump many dangerous chemicals into the surrounding waters affecting the quality of fish and seafood, in fact resulting in massive health hazards which, if discovered, will be voiced by the fishermen and the seafood operators.

Also, ASMAA does not buy the government explanation that they are just complying with EU directives.  We believe that it’s an orchestrated effort by the oil and gas lobbies to set the tone for things to come – MASSIVE JOB LOSSES IN THE ALGARVE.

We are of the opinion that this “Red Flag” law has been passed so quickly as nothing more than as a “convenient future blame tool” so that the finger can be pointed at other external factors for the cause of job losses, instead of the finger pointing to the real cause - the start-up phase of oil and gas exploration in Algarve in the middle of 2014.

Already on the chopping block are over 2,000 fishing industry jobs just in the Olhao area. This means over 2000 families - 8000 people dependent on this sector - more than 3000 kids that are facing the terrible spectrum of poverty and famine.

We simply cannot allow this to happen and we are going to fight this one day at a time and together we can and will make a difference.

Our government is starting to impact on the fishing industry. Next it will be your industry, your job and your livelihood that will be jeopardy.

We bet that you wouldn't allow that to happen to you and that you would fight tooth and nail to protect it – no different to what is already on our door step.  We have to mobilise the local communities to stand-up for their right to earn a living, for their right to work, and their right to feed their families – their right to a sustainable life.

So let's make more waves together. Let’s finish what we have already started.

Chip in 10, 20, 50 Euros or more to ASMAA’s Say NO to Oil and Gas in the Algarve - the grassroots movement that will get the job done.

We are the only independent association in the Algarve that is really standing up against the oil and gas industry, nobody else is doing anything at the moment against this major threat to our survival in the Algarve - but we need your assistance to kick start an aggressive information campaign in January, and we are running out of time and out of resources.


We are committed to our community. Are you?

Chip in 10, 20, 50 Euros or more to ASMAA’s Say NO to Oil and Gas in the Algarve - the grassroots movement that will get the job done.

Donate what you can so that we can continue with this important work
Account Holder: ASMAA Algarve Surf and Marine Activities Association
NIB: 0038 0000 40309681771 32 (If you are in Portugal)
IBAN: PT50 0038 0000 40309681771 32 (International payments)
REF: Algarve Oil / Your Name

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On 19 November 2013 we wrote about the threat, on 22 November a new law was passed.

Latest happenings

MP Artur Rego intervenes in parliament - read more

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And more about the new law, but they fail to link it to the real issue of oil and gas exploration (Portuguese)