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The main operators in the region’s fisheries sector – shipowners, fishermen and businessmen in industry and marketing – unanimously proposed to the regional secretary for Mar and Fisheries to suspend activity during the month of April.

The suggestion came during a working meeting, via Skype, on Monday afternoon, between Teófilo Cunha and the main regional fisheries operators, with the aim of collecting from the own information that help the Regional Government to make decisions in in the face of the deep restrictions imposed by measures to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

Shipowners, fishermen, businessmen in industry and marketing say they are concerned with the advance of the pandemic crisis, say that “it is better to stop now than later”, because the consumption of fresh fish “almost no longer exists”, therefore, “if there is no consumption, there is no outflow”.

The regional director of Fisheries, Rui Fernandes, the director of auction and warehouses services, Pedro Delgado, businessmen José Ornelas, Ilha Peixe group, João Nascimento, Vidinha Group, Tiago Abreu (J Nelson Abreu) and the president of Coopesca Madeira, Jacinto Silva, who represents shipowners and fishermen.

The request for everyone to stay on land will now be assessed by the Regional Government considering the unanimous suggestions by all transmitted to the Secretary of Mar and Fisheries. There are issues that need to be taken care of, namely direct support to fishermen who will be left without income due to the stop, but also compensation to shipowners.

All participants recognized, on the other hand, the difficulty in applying the “contingency plans” on the boats, due to the characteristics of the vessels.

“It is not possible to comply with the rules, if a fisherman is infected, he will infect everyone. It is better to stop now! ”, Warned José Ornelas, from Ilha Peixe, who received the agreement of the president of Coopesca:“ You cannot demand from a fisherman that after several days at sea when he comes ashore he has to stay in the quarantine boat mandatory, this is impossible ”, stressed Jacinto Silva.

The suspension is for the entire month of April, with shipowners and businessmen suggesting an assessment on the first 15 days of stoppage and that, before starting again, “this time should be used to review the regional fishing model, define a framework of rules and conditions”.

From JM