Grouper and dogfish will have full protection from August 1 in the Region

@ D.R.

The grouper and the dogfish will have full protection, as of August 1, 2022, throughout the maritime space of the Region, their capture being prohibited and subject to sanctions for violators.

In the Resolution signed by the Regional Secretary for Sea and Fisheries, Teófilo Cunha, the Regional Government recalls that “charismatic and endemic species are of crucial importance for the blue economy and for the conservation of regional marine biodiversity”, and points out the current state of conservation. of the mere.

“It is a species with fragile and vulnerable biological and ecological characteristics, as it reproduces late, presents slow growth and has a long life span and, consequently, appears to be a species vulnerable to anthropogenic pressures, such as pollution and overfishing, so it is urgent to adopt the necessary exceptional protection measures”, reads the document.

There are, on the other hand, scientific aspects, but also the relatively low economic nature of the dogfish that justify the decision to move towards full protection of the species: “Key species play an important role in maintaining community structure and resilience of island marine ecosystems. The dogfish is ecologically important, as an invertivorous predator, playing a key role in controlling the size of populations of sea urchins, an engineer species, promoting the development of desertification zones, poor in biodiversity and with low productivity.”

The latest scientific studies by the Regional Directorate for the Sea report “the significant appearance of desertification zones in the coastal marine environments of the Region, and a significant decrease in the abundance of dogfish.”

There are still other determining factors that weighed on the executive’s decision. The Region has been leading the country in the creation of marine reserves, artificial reefs, protection of species and marine biodiversity, investing in science, research and technologies, so the decision now taken to protect the dogfish is yet another step in the affirmation of this leadership.

Other factors

According to a statement from the Regional Secretariat for Sea and Fisheries, for those who practice underwater diving, the grouper is one of the main reasons for attraction and one of the most emblematic species of marine biodiversity in the Region. Outside the reserves, their capture is still allowed, but on August 1, the ban will be total.

“The species is in a vulnerable state, on the so-called “red line” and with little commercial expression. its commercialization represented a turnover of around 2,700.00 euros/year, with the capture of around 300 kg/year”, he points out.

“As for the dogfish, in the last five years, the average annual catch was 320 kg, with its commercial value yielding 1,500 euros/year. This endemic species of Macaronesia (Madeira, Azors and Canaries) is extremely important to maintain “controlled” the population of sea urchins, which are the basis of their food, and thus prevent their proliferation”, he explains.

More says that “based on a simple calculation, and based on the fact that in the Region foreigners and nationals perform about 10 thousand underwater dives/year at an average cost of 30 euros and the observation of the grouper is the main attraction, at the end of the year we would have 300 thousand euros. In other words, a live grouper is worth much more than a captured grouper, and its value is even more pronounced if we take into account that a grouper can live for 40 years”.

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