Opinions remain divided
JM headlines today that the controversy surrounding aquaculture promises to continue in Madeira, as not even the use of underwater cages or on land is able to gather consensus among entrepreneurs, who consider production carried out in visible structures at sea much more profitable. The government official Teófilo Cunha, Regional Secretary for Sea and Fisheries, values all the possibilities and reveals that there are ongoing studies and regional investors interested in moving forward with this business.
For those opposed to aquaculture cages, the same newspaper rather ominously reports separately that Grupo Ilhapeixe, which is currently the largest producer in the area of aquaculture in the Region, intends to double the investment in this activity next year. This seems to conflict with the Regional President Miguel Albuquerque who has already said, during the course of the on-going aquaculture conference just concluding in Madeira, that there will be no further cages in the immediate future.
The announcement was made by José Ornelas, responsible for the group, which made the most progress, in statements on the sidelines of the Aquaculture Europe 2021 conference, that studies are already being carried out so that the expansion of the activity takes place in a sustained manner.
Submerged aquaculture cages possible
“We don’t want to do aquaculture anyway, not at any price. We have to be careful, people who are knowledgeable in the matter are working towards it and see how far we can go”, he said, adding that the possibility of fish production being carried out in submerged cages is also being analysed.
For now, the Ilhapeixe group, which made an initial investment of around 2 million euros, has 28 cages installed at sea, with the intention of creating another 20 next year, in Campanário, in Ribeira Brava.
The possibility of producing other species besides dourada is still under study. “We are going to analyze and experiment with other species, because not everything adapts to the location”, explained José Ornelas.
This year alone, the Madeiran group expects production to reach 900 tons, a number it intends to double by the end of 2023. “It’s something that takes longer, because it takes a year and a half to be introduced and production”, pointed.