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Ponta Delgada ,  September 08, 2019

One million Euros invested every year in projects aimed at knowing the Azores Sea

The Regional Director for Fisheries stressed in Porto Formoso, São Miguel Island, that "producing information that improves decision-making is fundamental for responsible fisheries management."
“How many permits can we issue to a particular type of fishing gear? What quota should be set for a specific species? What is the status of a specific population or marine habitat? These are key issues for a good resource management that will ensure its sustainability and, thus, the future of fishing,” said Luís Rodrigues.
The Regional Director spoke Saturday on the sidelines of fieldwork carried out in the context of a project aimed at the monitoring of protected marine areas (MPA) in the Region, which brings together fishers and scientists from the University of the Azores.
The Working Group on Marine Protected Areas (GAMPA) led by IMAR and the Department of Oceanography and Fisheries at the University of Azores has been developing a plan for monitoring fishery resources in these areas as well in other coastal areas of significant ecological interest throughout the archipelago. The initiative is primarily intended to assess the status of these resources, priority habitats and species, including sharks and other coastal predators.
Underwater visual censuses are combined with remote video sampling (baited cam and drop-cam). Moreover, surveys are conducted among those who carry out fishing activities in the Azores Sea in order to map their distribution and assess possible impacts on biodiversity, commercial species, vulnerable/listed species and the ecological structure of these communities.
Luís Rodrigues stressed that this initiative “involves the participation of professional fishers," noting that “more than one million Euros is invested every year in the knowledge of the Azores Sea, through projects developed by several departments of the Regional Secretariat for the Sea, Science and Technology: the Azores Fisheries Observation Programme (POPA), COSTA, the National Data Collection Plan, ARQDAÇO (Annual Demersal Monitoring Campaigns) and CONDOR.
“Through knowledge, we can collect data to protect our sea and ensure the sustainability of fishing,” stated the government official.
The GAMPA's mission taking place on the islands of São Miguel and Santa Maria also involves researchers from DB-UAc/Cibio and includes several dives in various locations on both islands.
The Regional Director stated he has “good expectations” regarding the status of the recently created fishing reserve area, adding that the involvement of fishers “is essential for sharing knowledge with scientists and for greater involvement in applied management models.”
Luís Rodrigues noted that the Regional Secretariat for the Sea is finalising a new Coastal Resource Management Programme (MONICO), which aims to produce more information to better assess, monitor and manage the coastal resources of the Azores Sea.
The Regional Director also recalled that, next month, the Regional Secretariat for the Sea will organise the International Conference on Ocean Governance in Archipelago Regions on the island of Faial.
This event will bring together, among others, more than a hundred scientists from various countries working in the fields of marine science.
"Fisheries Management," "Marine Protected Areas," "Marine Planning," "Socioeconomic Sciences" and "Ocean Literacy" will be the main topics to be addressed at the event.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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