Fishing haul declines ; Quarter of the population are pensioners ; Agricultural losses

Today’s photo – Many thanks to Pete … "Taken 21st February".


Many thanks to Becky for sending in this web snippet and video :

"A St Davids artist based in Madeira has described the devastating scenes that forced him to flee his home." – an interesting response to this article has been added by someone from Paul do Mar. From the UK Western Telegraph  HERE

I can’t imagine who would have written that response (joking), but talk about an gross exaggeration  on the whole situation from those interviewed, especially on the rain situation generally. Der

Postais Antigos da Madeira – postcards from MADEIRA ISLAND & FUNCHAL PORTUGAL

Thanks to Pete for these : Clean up Portugal campaign | Programme 1 | Programme 2

Thanks to Paul for this one.

Know the ‘Madeiran Fortalezas’

image caption:São Tiago fortress in Funchal, Madeira

Fortaleza de São Tiago, Funchal, Madeira. The Fortress of St James was built between 1614 and 1637 in response to the frequent raids on Funchal by pirates. The complex is now a Monument of Regional Interest and is used to further cultural awareness. It includes a contemporary art museum and a restaurant. Read more:       




Many thanks to Elaine once again for yesterday’s top news stories :

DIÁRIO 22/03/2010


A quarter of the population live on pensions (social security). 25.9% of the population live on pensions, slightly less than the national average of 26.9%. In January 2010, there were 64,257 pensioners although a person can receive more than one pension (old-age, survivor’s, invalidity). From December 2008 to January 2010, there was an increase of 939 pensioners and the cost increased from 252.2 million Euros to 264 million Euros. Most pensions are for retirement, about 15% of the population or 37,673 Madeirans. The total cost is 13.5 million Euros at an average pension of 360.36 Euros. For survivor’s pension, the numbers are: 7.4% of the population, 18,387 receiving an average of 180.36 Euros, totalling 3.3 million Euros. In the case of disability, there are 8,197 disabled people, 3.3% of the population, at a total cost of 2.9 million Euros or 350.52 Euros per pensioner. The vast majority of pension recipients are women, 43,090: 23,592 retirement, 4,455 disability and 15,133 survivor’s. There were only 3,254 men receiving survivor’s pension, a total of 500,000 Euros compared to 2.8 million Euros paid to women.

Fish, poultry and livestock declined in 2009. In 2009, fish landings decreased by 7%, the auction price per kilo decreased by 8% and the revenue decreased by 14% or 2.3 million Euros. The espada-preta (swordfish) catches suffered the most, 22.4% fewer landings. 3.9% more tuna fish were caught. For cavala and chicharro (mackerel and horse mackerel), the catches increased but the revenue was less due to poor quality, reinforcing the fact that fish stocks are deteriorating each year. Over the past 12 years, 2009 was the worst for fishermen. Livestock production had a poor year reflecting the declining interest in farming. There were 23.5% fewer pigs and 13.3% fewer cattle slaughtered. 9.2% more poultry were raised last year and egg production increased by 1.5%.


Agriculture scarce. Rain and winds have hampered the growing of vegetables in the region with less variety on sale. ‘Sorteio de Cabazes de Primavera’ started yesterday and runs until May 30th. Over the next 11 Sundays, when 5 Euros worth of regional horticultural products are purchased from the Farmers’ Markets in Santana, Prazeres and Canhas, the purchaser receives a ticket for two raffles for baskets of produce, held on the 25th April and 20th May.

House in danger of falling down the slope. For the past three weeks, landslides and rockfalls have been a daily occurrence in the area of Urbanização da Montanha, in São Gonçalo. A neighbour has alerted Funchal Council about the house in question but the owner cannot be contacted. The fire brigade has visited on three separate occasions but taken no action. The land underneath the balcony and yard has subsided and if this continues, the neighbour is worried that the two-storey house will fall onto the road below.


CDS confirms ‘fiction’ of budgets. The CDS-PP predict an economic recession this year after analysing the Court of Auditors report on the 2008 Regional Budget. 2008 Accounts show a debt of 230 million Euros. 44% of tax revenue (327 million Euros) was absorbed by institutes and autonomous funds. The amount of interest paid for delays in paying suppliers increased by 35% to 23.3 million Euros. The Regional Government continued to support public sector enterprise despite losses of 70 million Euros. The Health Service debt was 431 million Euros. In 2008, the total direct and indirect debt was 1.9 billion Euros. With these debts, the government cannot raise funds to meet its commitments.

Councils postpone projects to alleviate emergencies. A month after the devastating storm, councils are having to rethink their programs of activities. In Ribeira Brava, the damage amounts to 80 million Euros and the planned Emigrant Museum has been postponed. Losses in Calheta, 4 million Euros, result from landslides, cleaning streams and damaged water networks. Savings will be focused on the June summer festivities, hiring artists of lower prestige. In Santana, the council has to find 3.5 million Euros to repair the damages. The slopes were extensively damaged and the auditorium at São Roque do Faial will now be delayed until 2011. The councils have sent reports of losses to the Regional Government but do not know if they will receive any financial support, or the amounts they will receive.


Baltazar Dias reopens on April 10th. The storm caused 500,000 Euros of damage to the Municipal Theatre Baltazar Dias in Funchal. It will reopen for the symbolic Film Festival of Funchal. The Mayor of Funchal arrived at the theatre on the afternoon of February 20th to find waist-deep mud in the audience area. Volunteers, including scouts, cleaned the theatre and there have been changes to improve facilities, for example the red carpet removed to make the acoustics better. The building has been rewired and painted, new alarms systems added and the furniture, floors and doors are nearly completely renovated.



Government will acquire 600 hectares in the west. The Regional Government will acquire, if necessary by compulsory purchase, 600 hectares in the counties of Câmara de Lobos, Ribeira Brava and Ponta do Sol. This is to make a forest that will protect diversity, water resources and the security of people living downstream. The government has just bought 25 plots of land totalling 332 hectares at a cost of 674,000 Euros. Later this year, a start will be made on planting 400,000 trees, finishing in 2011. The investment of 4.3 million Euros is from EU support and the Regional Budget. With this latest acquisition, the government possesses a total of 1,760 hectares of the serras of Funchal and Câmara de Lobos in the project launched in 2001 – ‘Tampão Verde’. Including the Ecological Park, the most strategic land in the serras are in public ownership. In 2003, 50,000 head of cattle were banned and removed from the publicly owned areas to end over-grazing. In the last 15 years, the government has afforested 908 hectares and planted one million and 200,000 trees in the serras. 

São Vicente investing in promoting the Laurissilva forest and county. The Mayor of São Vicente said the council intends to strengthen the investment for the promotion of the county. The Laurissilva forest is to be promoted in order to increase notoriety and visibility at the national level, to enable it to be one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Portugal. The mayor is confident that the forest will win the category Forests and Woods on 11th September. The forest is natural, the oldest in Portugal (Tertiary Period – 20 million years old) and contains 500 different endemic species, an important point as this year is the International Year of Biodiversity. The judges visited the region yesterday as a symbolic gesture and to testify that nature has not been spoilt; that Madeira continues to be a wonderful island to visit.

Porto Santo has a barbusano.  Porto Santo Council and the firm Porto Santo Verde planted yesterday, the World Day of the Forest, a tree in the gardens of Alameda Infante D. Henrique. For the national celebrations of the centenary of the Republic, the national committee challenges the Portuguese councils to plant a tree related to the indigenous forest. The barbusano is a tree belonging to the Laurissilva forest which is extinct in Porto Santo. This tree species is endemic to the Golden Island and it is important to reintroduce the Barbusanos as it adapts well to the island.


‘Funchal, Funchal’ single to be released this week. Luís Jardim wrote and recorded this music to raise funds for the victims of the storm. It will be released on CD-single at the end of this week and all sales revenue goes to the funds for Madeira. It was featured on the SIC fund-raising program ‘Uma Flor para a Madeira’. Luís Jardim is a producer who has worked with respected names in international music and hopes the worldwide Portuguese communities will buy the single. An initial release of 5,000 – 10,000 copies with more produced according to demand. The video clip of this official theme can be seen in full on YouTube


Clocks go forward one hour at 01.00 Sunday. This will mark the beginning of Official Summer Time.

EU approves ‘Cultural Festivals of Madeira’. The EU approves this project for support from community funds until 2013. The four major events covered are: Meeting of Philharmonic Bands in May, Music Festival of Madeira in June, the Festival Atlantic Roots (traditional music) in July and the Organ Festival in October. The Festival of Music will be scaled down from a month to 4 – 13 June.

Diário Question. A month after the tragedy what is still causing concern?

People to relocate 22%

False promises 23%

No plans 28%

Lack of money 16%

Excessive bureaucracy 11%

Today’s news headlines from the front page of the Diário de Notícias :

Today’s main news headline : PEC limits debts with public companies – The Programme of Stability and Growth [PEC] threatens to interfere in the public accounts of Madeira. The State is going to squeeze indebtedness.

30 thousand pensioners with pensions below the minimum salary originate petition to the parliaments. Pensioners and retired people are claiming an extra €65, and ARPIRAM have delivered a petition to the Legislative Assembly to stake the claim. I suppose that we will have to get used to the idea that as the State squeezes to re-establish an acceptable deficit in Europe, more and more people will feel the effects, and protests like this will pop up with increasing regularity. Can you imagine the public sector workers carrying on peacefully knowing that their pay is restricted until 2013, and medical staff and teachers here are always in dispute over pay and conditions. The Portuguese are not like the Greeks [yet?] but the squeeze here is going to bite just as hard given time, and I just hope we don’t have to witness here the unrest seen in Greece recently. The ones we won’t see a bad reaction from of course will be those on the minimum wage, in tourism, hotels, shops, bars and restaurants. Any trouble from them and they can be easily replaced. Nothing wrong with peaceful petitions from the pensioners of course, but I guess that won’t be on government priority list until the next elections loom.

Aguiar-Branco proposes more autonomy. The removal of the post of Representative of the Republic [for Madeira] is one of the intentions of the candidate for the leadership of the Social Democrat Party, who expects an interesting vote on Madeira, on Friday. Uncle Bertie also wanted to remove this post I recall, and it was supposed to be a measure included in constitutional reform. What happened after that I have no idea, but maybe this guy will win over UB in the voting, as more autonomy is just what he likes. Can’t wait until Friday when this annoying drawn-out election is over.

"[State] subsidies decrease but guarantees rise" – David Caldeira stresses that the ‘cut’ does not define the big picture. Following on from yesterday’s article that government handouts to public and private organisations have reduced by 57.5%, some financial expert is suggesting that for those organisations affected there is a way forward.

Drug trail judgement in Funchal with 19 suspects – The majority of those involved live in Palmeira, Câmara de Lobos. There are also two Italians to answer charges.

Government has it’s eye on the support – Jardim assures that "tough" measures were taken at the end to avoid exploitation. The Executive is going to present in the Madeira Assembly a proposal of a certificate "that assures that all the entitled beneficiaries don’t stray from the legally established priorities". All about the allocation of the money raised following the storm on the 20th February.

‘Caruncho’ with thematic parties starting from the 26th – Academic camp, cutting ribbons, rock nights, and the prom of the finalists [students] to close on the 10th April. Don’t even ask! I turned to Google translator for help with this one, but it made even less sense. I presume from the photo that this is all about the celebrations of the final year students, and it’s called ‘Semana do Caruncho’ [Woodworm Week].

The main sport / football headline today : The World Cup 2010 is going to decide who is the best – Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney or Cristiano Ronaldo : One of them will be the Best in the World and the decision will take place in South Africa. Rooney? How did he get on that list?

If anyone else can oblige with the translation of any of the ‘blank’ or sparsely filled headlines, or other news stories, here is the link. All contributions much appreciated. 

Sheila sent me this email she received this morning, hoping someone would be able to help : "I received this e-mail and, as time is so short if this poor dog is to be saved, I wondered whether any Blog readers might be able to help. I have notified SPAD and just about everyone else I know, who might be able to help. This is a lot to ask, I know, but as there is no RSPCA in Madeira, I would welcome any and all suggestions from your contributors". Sheila

Original email :  Golden Retriever in extensive distress in Garajau :

"There is a dog in Bloco G or H, in Edificio Quintas I, Estrada do Garajau,  Garajau, Caniço, The dog is in the garden at the end of the block, immediately behind the villa that is at the front of the apartment complex Edificio Quintas 1. It is the second last apartment block in Garajau before going round the valley to Caniço.

No one lives in the apartment where the dog is and it has not been fed for 3 days at least. Our friends have been trying to feed the dog, by throwing in food over the wall, but the dog is not eating it, because it is dehydrated because it does not have any water. They can’t put water over the wall.

We know the owner has been taken to court in the past over the dog and so the case is known, but that was primarily because the dog was barking. Now the dog is suffering from lack of care.   The dog can be seen, by walking up the steps at the side and behind the villa and one can look over the wall down onto the dog. It is a beautiful looking dog, but wont be for long without food or water".

I am not on the island, so I cannot do anything about it. Can you suggest some ways to end this poor dogs suffering?

If you can, please contribute something Madeira related. A funny story or good or bad experience, a news item, or a story from a Madeira newspaper, a photo or video, a teaser, news of a bargain flight or item in a supermarket. Please help keep this blog going … without user contributions it won’t survive. Please don’t send in automatic translations (like Google translator) without checking them through and correcting them first, thanks.

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18 thoughts on “Fishing haul declines ; Quarter of the population are pensioners ; Agricultural losses”

  1. In the Diario list of questions above, 11% of those asked ticked ‘excessive bureaucracy’ as a problem hindering the clean up and causing concern.
    It’s quite a low percentage compared with the administration of another EC country, where that concern could be as high as 100%.
    Compare Madeira with Cockermouth England, which suffered a devastating storm over a year ago.
    Fortunately Air Sea Rescue was able to keep immediate fatalities to zero.
    Only one person, an unlucky policeman was washed away, from a collapsing bridge he was preventing traffic to cross.
    The English TV programme yesterday highlighted the dilemma faced by Cockermouth residents, shopkeepers and farmers in particular, who are overwhelmed by the effort of dealing with the several interested government departments.
    Britain’s famous quangos, who are the recent plague on all our children, are active.
    The result is of course that 12 months on, valuable floodplain grazing land remains covered by several feet of storm born stones and boulders, denying farmers their income as the agencies debate and pontificate between themselves over their role in the deperately needed clear up.
    Shops and offices are still closed.
    Planners have the answers.
    We don’t know when they will devulge them though
    Cattle and sheep have been moved by their owners to other areas.
    The cost of which now naturally falls outside any available government regional aid.
    I am sure that if the Madeiran spirit of “let’s get on with it” prevailed , as existed in pre no more manufacturing, pre quango, pre health and safety, pre ethnic bio degradeable, pre multi-cultural dance community centres, out of work, on the rock and roll, pre care in the community, pre a poorly educated low quality diversity aware civil service, pre a nanny state Britain, there would be no need for programme makers to highlight such an almighty balls up.
    Madeirans at 11%, are leading the charge.
    Up the Revolution.

  2. There are some beautiful clips of Madeira in the video for Luis Jardim’s fund-raising single… just a shame that the song’s so terrible (sorry, Luis!) Hearing the melody for “singing in the rain” at the beginning of the track seemed rather inappropriate too. Ah well, his heart’s in the right place I suppose.

  3. While Martin makes some interesting observations concerning Britain’s approach to flood clean up, it should be pointed out that the Cockermouth floods were in fact 4 months ago (November 2009) not over 12 months ago as stated.

  4. Becky, another point, why call it ‘Funchal, Funchal’, as if it is just about fund raising for Funchal, then I am going to have to record a song / video for my area … now what shall I call it … I know ‘Ribeira Brava, Ribera Brava’ perhaps?

  5. Sheila, I live nearby and go there. But will it help ? I don’t want to be a mute spectator. Can you please give some concrete suggestion to help the dog. You seem to know the area well. These owners should be thrown into a cage with hungry dogs. I can call the Bombeiros, but again would need the exact address.

  6. Re Airport problems on saturday: As far as I am aware it was “just” a case of low cloud/mist being formed by a warm/moist SW flow coming down over the hills above the Airport – temp v dew point etc…….

  7. Abandoned dog in flat? film the dog at different times of the day for evidence. Options? call the police and call spad. Ask the police what’s the law covering this and who has a duty to assist the dog where it is. Also, amongst other issues there is a health/hygiene issue too and a responsible Property Manager/building owner would want to be notified what’s going on in this unit.

  8. Following the headline about pension increases in today’s Diário, Finance Minister Teixeira dos Santos was on the news this afternoon, saying that pensions would be “updated” in this and coming years, meaning nothing really.

    He also said that the PEC would have an impact on earnings, but those on under €900 monthly (I think … my memory gets worse and worse) wouldn’t be affected.

  9. We have friends from the U.K. who are moving here permanently and are looking for a two bed house/large apartment to rent, furnished, any south coast area, suitable for their 10 year old daughter and young doggie (all well behaved) for at least 6 months from April……would appreciate any advice/info on know availability.
    Thanks Der, thanks team “Madeira” …. so good, they want to live here also!

  10. Thank you Vela. It is important that an official complaint is made to the Police. The people, who are trying to help this dog, have a communication problem. It is necessary that someone should go to SPAD to obtain their own Complaint Form. When completed, this form must (by law) be sent to the Government’s Veterinary Department. If you know a lady called Mrs Helen Grenside and/or her Swiss neighbour, who both live in Garajau, they may be willing to join you and others in the attempts to help this dog. Sr.Goncalo Santos, President of SPAD and Dra. Michelle Quintal have both been informed about this dog’s situation. Please help!

  11. Hi All,

    Poor dog, why have none of the neighbours complained, it really sounds like it needs water got to it fast and hope it drinks, im about tomorrow afternoon if i can help in anyway let me know , maybe a bucket of water can be lowered to it , until someone gains entry to rescue it.

    What a fantastic video to the CRAP song Funchal Funchal some really great shots.

  12. What a load of rubbish in the Western Telegraph. The ‘St Davids’ artist was at his studio in Jardine de Mar when we visited on the 12th March.
    Such remarks are an injustice to our wonderful Madeiran friend who have done a fantastic job.

  13. I fancy ” Gaula, Gaula, Gaula” myself …..

    I am an Artist also, but I deal with reality not fantasy St David…..rather than distance yourself from true reality perhaps you should seek to become a part of it? Involved? Not remote? We can all paint a picture from our (little) ivory tower…

    Madeira, it’s a wonderful world – and I say to myself…….

    THANKS for all the response to the “rentahouse” post – wot lovely people, Ta.


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