November 22, 2023 - Published 92 days, 16 hours and 45 minutes ago
Investing in the sea and fisheries is "lever" for truly sustainable economy, stresses Manuel São João
location Horta

Secretaria Regional do Mar e das Pescas

The Regional Secretary for the Sea and Fisheries, Manuel São João, listed today the priorities of his department for 2024, emphasising the need to promote a truly sustainable economy.

"The Economy of the Sea Programme for 2024 corresponds to a public investment of more than 43 million Euros, an increase of more than 27% compared to this year. As the guidelines of the Annual Plan for next year point out, the aim is to develop and invest in the resources of the sea as a lever for creating a sustainable, differentiating and value-creating economy. This is the goal that we have set ourselves and that we want to pursue," he said.

Manuel São João spoke at the Regional Legislative Assembly on the third day of the discussion on the Regional Government's proposals for the 2024 Plan and Budget.

The Regional Secretary emphasised the role of the Azores Sea Cluster, which will have a budget of more than 25 million Euros under the Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP).

"With regard to the oceanographic vessel, the construction work is progressing well and the keel was recently laid, while the procedures for its outfitting are underway. As for the Martec Technopole, we received approval from the Court of Auditors at the end of last week. The next step will be the signing of the consignment agreement, which is expected to take place soon. Also with regard to the RRP, with a view to adjusting the fleet to the existing resources, we will allocate 2.3 million Euros for this purpose in 2024, out of a total of five million Euros," he continued.

The Government of the Azores also considers that amending the Compensation Scheme for the owners of local fishing vessels exclusively powered by petrol outboard engines in 2024 is "fundamental and a priority," so as to increase the financial support from 30 to 50 cents per litre.

"For some people in this house, it may not seem like much, but for the beneficiaries, it represents significant support, given that this amount has not been updated since 2008. It has been 15 years. Not 15 days, nor 15 months, but 15 years," he explained.

Following the end of the Advisory Committee's work and the submission of the respective documents to the National Government, the next step will be the submission of National Maritime Spatial Planning Situation Plan for the Azores Subdivision (PSOEM-Azores) to public consultation, he added.

He continued: "With regard to the Network of Marine Protected Areas of the Azores, the goal of defining these areas, which will protect 30% of the Azores Sea, half of which will be completely off-limits to any extraction activity, is a work in progress."

Manuel São João also spoke about the current state of the canning industry, pointing out that today "the island of Pico has a factory in operation with an overall investment of up to 16 million Euros and, at the very least, more than 100 jobs, the same ones that were at risk three years ago."

"In São Jorge, the Santa Catarina cannery is under private management and represents an overall investment of more than six million Euros until its full modernisation, securing 150 jobs. This is sustainability," he said.

As for the Maritime School, it "continues to grow" when "it was severely neglected" by previous administrations.

"I end as I began, recalling the presentation of this Programme of Government for this term. We need common sense, co-responsibility and, above all, justice. It is on this basis that you can count on this Government," stated Manuel São João.

© Governo dos Açores | Fotos: MM