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Horta ,  March 22, 2018

Average price of fish increased 41% in the Azores over the last five years, says Gui Menezes

The Regional Secretary for the Sea, Science and Technology stated in Horta that the Region "has registered an increase in the average price of fish" over the last five years, adding that this figure "is significant for any activity."
Gui Menezes spoke at the Legislative Assembly during a communication delivered by the Regional Government on the Action Plan for the Restructuring for the Fisheries Sector in the Azores. In this regard, the government official mentioned that this plan intends to "find solutions to the challenges" of the sector, through four axes: Readjustment of the Fleet and the Fishing Effort, Mobility of Fishers, Management of Fishing Resources and the Control and Monitoring of Fishing Activity.
As for the readjustment of the fleet and the fishing effort, the Government will establish a scheme to support the definitive cessation of commercial fishing activity. According to Gui Menezes, this is a "step-by-step" measure that will focus on two islands, São Miguel and Terceira, "covering about two dozen vessels in this first phase."
"These are the islands where the density of vessels and fishers [per available fishing area] is higher," the government official stressed, adding that "most vessels are unable to move to more remote fishing grounds, which causes some constraints."
This measure, which will run until the end of this legislative period, provides for an estimated investment of 600 thousand Euros for this year and covers vessels with a length of less than 12 metres
The support is limited to a maximum amount of 30 thousand Euros per vessel. It is primarily intended to compensate shipowners with lower productivity for the definitive cessation of activity. It takes into consideration "the goal of reinforcing the sustainable and smart preservation and exploitation of resources and the goal of ensuring levels of appropriate profitability to the sector."
Regarding the amount to be allocated to each shipowner, Gui Menezes added that, "according to the Community de minimis rules, it is not possible to grant State aid over 30 thousand Euros to a company."
Still in the Readjustment of the Fleet and the Fishing Effort, the government official emphasised the investment in schooling, training and professional reorientation of Azorean fishers.
"We are developing a training offer for adult education and training, adopting a double certification model that allows fishers to complete schooling and, simultaneously, ensures their professional certification in different fishing categories," said the government official. 
In this context, he mentioned the 300-hour courses already held or in progress on the islands of Terceira and São Miguel, allowing fishers to complete schooling, namely the 4th, 6th and 9th forms."
The Regional Secretary said that all these courses, which started in late 2017, "will cover more than four hundred professional by June this year."
Regarding new solutions for the professional reorientation of fishers, Gui Menezes announced that the Regional Government will promote an awareness campaign among the fishing communities of São Miguel "to encourage some fishers to enrol in courses promoted by vocational training schools in next school year."
"Never, perhaps, has training [of professionals in this sector] been so much valued as now," said Gui Menezes.
Concerning axis two, the Fisher Mobility programme aims to respond to two constraints, which are the excessive number of fishers per vessel on some islands and the lack of fishers on some islands and fleet segments.
The support provided under this programme will include a monthly sum of 300 Euros for each beneficiary shipowner and for each hired fisher.
According to the Regional Secretary, through the mobility, training and professional reorientation programmes, "we will be creating the conditions to provide more opportunity to fishers," thus ensuring that the Government will "follow this process with great care."
During the debate, Gui Menezes was questioned about the low income in the sector. As he revealed, "the average income on most islands is above the regional minimum wage. If there is injustice in fisheries, which unfortunately exists on some islands, this is related to the distribution of income."
Gui Menezes also defended that the renewal of the Azorean fleet was mainly due to the "improvement of the working and safety conditions" of fishers and not in terms of fishing effort. He noted that the "investment in the modernisation" of vessels represented a "significant advance" in the sector's operating conditions, having also contributed to the enhancement of fish products.


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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