Nazaré, the big wave surf mecca, on the central coast of Portugal, in the near past was almost exclusively identified with fishing. Fishing was practised by local families, yet evolved commercially and industrially, simultaneously more and more local families abandoned this activity for safer and more stable economic activities mostly in the tourism sector. If sustainable fishing is possible here, it is possible anywhere in the world!Big wave surfers believe in the spiritual power of Nazaré – its ancient religious roots ring true with surfer’s fascination and dedication to the town’s amazing waves. The beauty and power of the waves, now understood by science to be created by a giant underwater canyon less than a km from Praia do Norte (beach north of Sítio) coastline, magnifies the spectacle. A Nazaré Hope Zone by design will be exemplary in its positive and sustainable relationship with the local fishing industry, so as to create better career prospects for the youth wanting to carve a living locally from the sea. Nazaré’s natural conditions for huge surf communicate and strongly support ocean conservation matters.
In 2010, Nazaré City Hall has developed the implementation of artificial reefs. The infrastructure was placed between the mouth of the River Alcoa and Salgado Beach, at a depth of between 20 and 23 metres.In 2021, the reefs were monitored by the municipality. Pout, common two-banded sea bream, triggerfish, octopus, starfish, Portuguese blenny, comber fish and various types of algae, anemones and corals had already fully colonised the artificial complex made up of 1,050 concrete modules.
Hope Zones Foundation works in partnership with SeaForester and CoLab+Atlantic with the support of Nazaré City Hall, the World Surf League and Patagonia. The pilot project of reforestation of Laminaria ochroleuca macroalgae will be decisive for fostering biodiversity. In a few years these algae are supposed to increase fish species in the area in quantity and variety, contributing to the development of traditional fishing and sustainable tourism.
A step ahead towards the future!