The Littoral Station "ELA" opened to the public in July 1999 at Praia da Aguda, a small fishing village on the Portuguese Atlantic coast, located south of the river Douro estuary in the area of Vila Nova de Gaia.
The building was designed by Porto’s architect João Paulo Peixoto and involves:
- a Fishery Museum exhibiting ancient and modern equipment;
- an Aquarium displaying the local aquatic fauna and flora;
- a Department for Education and Research dedicated to marine ecology, aquaculture and fishery.
Praia da Aguda is known for it's "artisanal" fishery, based on methods handed down from generation to generation. Around 1870, fishermen from two villages nearby, Afurada and Espinho, settled here to build the first wooden shelters and to fish mainly swim-crabs «pilado» (Polybius henslowi), which they sold to the local farmers for fertilisation. The fields became more productive, and the fishery developed with increasing demand.
ELA belongs to municipal company ÁGUAS DE GAIA, EM. SA. of Vila Nova de Gaia and offers various programs and services to:
- increase public sensitivity to the litoral
- provide a direct contact with the sea to educational institutions,
- participate in university courses,
- study the biological processes in the litoral;
- support the local fishery with research projects.
OPEN DAILY ALL YEAR ROUND (see Visits / Bookings)