The president of the Association of Fishermen of Rio Minho e do Mar (APPRMM) defended today that the Government should “decree” the “end of local fishing”, as it is a vehicle for transmitting covid-19, and define “compensatory” measures.
“The Government must stop small-scale fishing, which at the moment is a vehicle for transmitting the disease. In order to survive, fishermen are forced to go against the law, endanger their health and that of those who buy their fish. They do not have places to sell the fish they catch and, therefore, they started selling the fish door to door, in direct contact with people in places, without the minimum sanitary control ”, warned Augusto Porto.
The president of that association, based in Caminha, in the district of Viana do Castelo, said that stopping small-scale fishing would involve taking “compensatory” measures that are adjusted to the needs of these fishing communities.
“The measures that have been announced are for large companies, but in local fisheries we are talking about family businesses. The support that has been made available, for example, the ‘lay-off’ or bank loans are not suitable for the reality of these small companies ”, said Augusto Porto.
Augusto Porto said he added “to disagree with the possibility that is being considered by the Ministry of the Sea to determine the stoppage of fishing between 22:00 on Friday and 22:00 on Sunday, until 31 May”.
“If it goes forward, this measure will still create more difficulties for small-scale fishing because it is during the weekend that local fishing communities sell more fish. It is the survival of hundreds of families that is at stake. There are thousands of boats in Portugal that are completely unprotected and adrift ”, he maintained.
Augusto Porto explained that if that measure comes to fruition, given the “closure of practically all sales channels, the entire local fleet of vessels with outboard engines will be extinct, which is representative of a large part of the country’s fleet ”.
“In the current state of emergency, people finding themselves in isolation at home or at their jobs, only go to buy our fish, which is sold in specific places by hand, on weekends. Even so, current sales are very low, with the majority of vessels already at a standstill or with large debts. It is evident that if no action is taken, there is a serious risk that these professionals will start to make single sales, without any health control, increasing the risk of contamination by covid-19 ”, he added.
The new coronavirus, responsible for the covid-19 pandemic, has already infected more than 600,000 people worldwide, of whom nearly 28,000 have died.
Of the cases of infection, at least 129,100 are considered cured.
After appearing in China in December, the outbreak spread worldwide, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a pandemic situation.
In Portugal, according to the balance made today by the Directorate-General for Health, there were 100 deaths, 24 more than the day before (+ 31.5%), and there were 5,170 confirmed infections, 902 more cases in relation to to Friday (+ 21.1%).
Of those infected, 418 are hospitalized, 89 of whom are in intensive care units, and there are 43 patients who have recovered.
Portugal, where the first confirmed cases were registered on March 2nd, is in a state of emergency from 00:00 on March 19th until 23:59 on April 2nd.
In addition, the Government declared on the 17th the state of public calamity for the municipality of Ovar.