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Increase in Fish Cages Causes Criticism


Socialist Councillor to the Municipality of Arco Da Calheta, Sofia Canha and Deputy to the Regional Parliament, Martinho Câmara, have both registered their concern over the increase of fish farming in the area of Arco da Calheta.  Especially as Ilhapeixe has just announced that they intend to install a further 20 cages, over the next two years in the sea off Campanário.  Furthermore, Marismar has also confirmed that they will be installing another twenty fish cages in the waters off Arco da Calheta. 

Although the pair accept that the companies are within their rights to expand, they are concerned that the increase in the number of proposed fish cages is an affront to the population, especially as representatives have already demonstrated their concern over the proposed increases.  Moreover, the pair have criticised the Regional Government, accusing them of worrying more about the economic interests of the island, than the people who live here. They further believe that an increase in fish farming in the area will have a detrimental affect on tourism.  

Martinho Câmara, further added that he does not agree with the increase, stating that the number of cages in the area is excessive and will likely have knock on effects on the local environment.  He went on to say that he does not directly oppose aquaculture, but believes that the activity should be limited to those areas where they will have a less visual impact on the environment, and that the number of cages currently installed is ‘perfectly sufficient.’  

However, what has surprised him, is that the Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Rural Development, Humberto Vasconcelos, had stated, prior to this, that no more cages would be installed in the two proposed areas.  A reversal, that has shocked Martinho Câmara, especially as he only found out about the new proposals by reading about them in the local newspaper.

Coming off the back of this, COSMOS – The Association for the Defense of the Environment and Quality of Life, have stated that they will proceed with “lawsuits against the Regional Government of Madeira and companies linked to aquaculture, because they gross illegalities were committed in all administrative procedures that led to the creation of the ‘pseudo’ RAM Aquaculture Management Plan, (POAMAR) and the respective ZIAs (Zone of Interest) for Aquaculture” during the cage installation. 

Samantha Gannon

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