At the initiative of the FLAG Sotavento, which will be operating the Portuguese National FLAG Network until August 2011, the third national encounter of FLAGs took place in Algarve in the city of Olhão in conjunction with the 8th edition of the EXPOMAR exhibition, one of the largest maritime events in Portugal, gathering maritime and fisheries professional organisations, private companies, associations, universities and administrations.
On the first day, the event aimed at promoting the sustainable development of fisheries areas in Portugal through a series of presentations in presence of Mr. José Apolinario, Director General of the Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Ministry of Agriculture. FARNET was invited to raise awareness on Axis 4, reminding its goals and presenting projects selected in other fisheries areas in Europe. It was also an opportunity to discuss the ways in which links with other regional and national maritime initiatives can be fostered. On the second day, FLAGs and the Managing Authority gathered to discuss about the actual situation of Axis 4 in Portugal, ways and options to strengthen and facilitate on the ground delivery mechanisms to secure efficient project selection, in tune with the objectives of the EFF.
The event attracted a lot of attention from the local fishermen and shellfish producers organisations but also universities and research institutes. It echoed the FLAG Sotavento’s motto: “um mar de oportunidades” (a “sea of opportunities”), a call for synergies to ensure efficient, inclusive and sustainable growth in European fisheries areas.