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Sustainable Fishing and Aquaculture Activities in the Atlantic Coast of the Portuguese North Region: Multi-Stakeholder Views as a Tool for Maritime Spatial Planning

Emilio Salas-Leiton (), Luis R. Vieira () and Lúcia Guilhermino ()
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Emilio Salas-Leiton: Laboratory of Ecotoxicology and Ecology, Department of Population Studies, ICBAS-UP—Institute of Biomedical Sciences of Abel Salazar, University of Porto, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal
Luis R. Vieira: Laboratory of Ecotoxicology and Ecology, Department of Population Studies, ICBAS-UP—Institute of Biomedical Sciences of Abel Salazar, University of Porto, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal
Lúcia Guilhermino: Laboratory of Ecotoxicology and Ecology, Department of Population Studies, ICBAS-UP—Institute of Biomedical Sciences of Abel Salazar, University of Porto, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal

Sustainability, 2021, vol. 13, issue 2, 1-17

Abstract: The experienced view of stakeholders is a very valuable tool to build inclusive and reliable maritime spatial planning (MSP). Within this context, the present work assesses the potential and limitations for a further sustainable development of fishing and aquaculture activities, considering the Portuguese North Region as case study. The official strategies and legal framework drafted by Portugal in MSP issues were initially reviewed, with the corresponding management objectives identified. Official statistical data were used to show the current situation of regional fishery and aquaculture, while the perceptions of involved groups were collected by a methodology based in a multi-stakeholder survey and subsequent workshop. Taking into account the regional circumstances defined by a decreased fishing production (decline of 45.9% during the period of 2012–2019) and scarce aquaculture weight (≤1% in terms of national production in 2018), the stakeholders brought to light great difficulties on the part of public administration to implement official management objectives. The stakeholders also considered that conflicts between maritime activities are almost inexistent at present, even though they predicted future disagreements when new players intend to use maritime space. A positive response about a successful future for aquaculture was obtained from every group surveyed, although the specialized stakeholders pointed out severe limitations for a further development of both off-shore and extensive coastal aquaculture modalities. In conclusion, it seems evident there is the need for a fluent collaboration with the regional fishing stakeholder, particularly promoting synergies involving small scale fleets, in order to avoid future potential conflicts. Against the challenges and limitations posed by the aquaculture industry, promoting the intensive cultivation of high commercial value fish and new interest local species, when conducted under sustainable practices that add value to the harvested product, would be an interesting strategy to implement in our case study.

Keywords: maritime spatial planning; Portuguese North Region; fisheries; aquaculture; stakeholders (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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