Every year, the Ria Formosa is worth tens of millions of euros
CCMAR researchers have quantified the fish hatchery service provided by the Ria Formosa and the role of seagrass in providing this service. The density and biomass of the 96 fish species found in the Ria Formosa are about twice as high inside the seagrass than they are outside. Likewise, the production of commercial fish species is twice as high within the seagrass beds.
The estimated value of the Ria Formosa as a hatchery for commercial fish species is between 30 and 59 million euros. Karim Erzini, researcher at CCMAR and first author of a study on the subject in the journal Ecosystem Services, emphasises that the calculation of these values does not take into account the fishing mortality to which these resources are subject. However, these numbers emphasise the enormous importance of the Ria Formosa for the protection and development of the juvenile stages of fish, which, after growing up, leave the Ria to sustain the coastal populations exploited by local fisheries. Rui Santos, CCMAR researcher and senior author of the same article, emphasises the benefits that seagrass meadows bring us, not only in terms of fishing resources, but also in terms of supporting biodiversity, water purification, coastal protection and, in particular, carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation.
Karim Erzini, Filipe Parreira, Zineb Sadat, Margarida Castro, Luís Bentes, Rui Coelho, Jorge M.S. Gonçalves, Pedro G. Lino, Begoña Martinez-Crego, Pedro Monteiro, Frederico Oliveira, Joaquim Ribeiro, Carmen B. de los Santos, Rui Santos.
Influence of seagrass meadows on nursery and fish provisioning ecosystem services delivered by Ria Formosa, a coastal lagoon in Portugal