Rabo de Peixe, Portugal


The village of Rabo de Peixe wants to extend its port to develop the professional fishing sector, which is the major source of growth in this Portuguese region. This extension would increase the port capacity by a further 100 moorings, which would improve its profitability and necessary dynamics. However, it could threaten the wave that forms in this spot and hence have a detrimental effect on water sports in this part of the island.

Paulo, Keeper and representative of the SFE Azores Chapter, has sent several letters alerting the government and asking for free access to information and to the studies that were carried out on the port extension project.

The Keeper invoked the Aarhus Convention on public access to information. He also proposed a meeting with the competent authorities, allowing surfing organisations to get involved and participate in the elaboration and consultation processes on the project. He is asking for specific technical studies to be carried out to ensure that the wave is protected, and he met with concerned surfing associations to gain support for his cause.

Unfortunately, on the 28th of October 2012, the investigating commissioner endorsed the project. However, the government has taken public opinion into account and made amendments to the port extension. Construction is now underway. The SFE Azores Chapter is watching its development closely, hoping that all their concerns with regards to the Azores Wave were comprehended and that they are being taken into account in the solution that is being implemented in the port extension.

Backed by his supporters, the Keeper is working on a guide of surf spots called 'Surf Map', in an attempt to highlight the potential of the Azores waves. This guide will list the different surf spots in the Azores and offer a classification of the waves, whilst allocating a socio-economic value to the various sites. Moreover, he is lobbying the Portuguese government to ensure that surf spots are taken into account in the implementation of the future EU Directive on maritime spatial planning.

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