Fisheries Areas Network

Good Practice Short Story

Producing essential oils from marine plants

Thanks to business advice from Oeste FLAG and national financial support, a fisheries observer who wanted to change his career path has successfully started his own company in Portugal, working with marine plants called halophytes.
"Developing my company has been made possible not only thanks to the national funding and IPL ESTM’s support, but also thanks to Oeste FLAG – without whose more specialised approach this would not have been possible. I used to move around the world to make a living, now I brought my job to my doorstep.”
Mario Belo Pedro, Quinta Quanta Business CEO

In Peniche, Portugal, Mario decided to build a natural products-based company, with money from the national MAR2020 grant. But he encountered a problem. His original business plan included extracting essential oil from a sea shore plant which might not be economically viable, called  Immortelle. Therefore, he had to adapt his business plan to include another species for the project. With Oeste FLAG’s advice on how to make his business profitable enough, Mario teamed up with the Instituto Politecnico de Leiria (IPL ESTM) to carry out experiments, helping him choose which species to exploit. Then, he set up a farm of six hectares to grow the selected halophyte species: sea fennel and gum rockrose.

Now, Mario´s company produces 15 to 50 tonnes of sea fennel per year, making up to 50 kilograms of essential oil. The oil is sold for around 1 000 euros per kilogram. At the moment, Mario is setting up a resinoid extraction system to produce a valuable extract from gum rockrose and his local company is expected to grow significantly in the coming years.

In the context of Covid-19, and thanks to the equipment and knowhow Mario had acquired through this project, he has been able to temporarily diversify his products to the use of pumpkins for making sanitizing hand gel.


Budget €38 780
EU contribution €36 414
  • EMFF: €13 407
  • Other EU funding: €23 007
Other public contribution €2 366
  • National: €2 366

Contact details

FLAG Contacts

Mr. Rogério Cação
+351 262 787 959
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