Andalucia must must pay 100 million euros for failing to prevent the capture of rare fish
SPAIN has been fined a record 100 million euros for illegal fishing off Andalucia.
The massive fine has been levied after constant warnings about the illicit capture of, in particular, young boquerones and chanquetes.
The European Court has ruled that Spain has continually failed to control the illegal fishing in its waters.
In particular it is being punished for the regular catches of underweight and baby fish.
It has failed to stop a ban of the endangered chanquete, which has been in force since 1989.
A source at Spain’s fishing ministry told Diario Sur, that there were so many illegal fisherman that the price had dropped from 150 euros a kilo to just 30 euros.
He estimated that up to 70 “bolicheros” as they are known head out every night from Torre del Mar, in the Axarquia alone.
Over a dozen bars and restaurants in central Malaga have been denounced for selling the illegal fish.
A further 100 or more are selling the fish up the Costa del Sol.
At the central fish market at Huelin inspectors found 20 kilos of chanquetes for sale, with around 25 kilos of other prohibited fish being sold just outside.
Now Spain’s Ministry of Fishing is to clamp down by levying a new fine of up to 60,000 euros for the catch of more than 100 kilos of underweight fish. The smallest fine has been increased to 1000 euros for illegal fishing.
It is also ordering the immediate seizure of any boats or lorries involved in the fishing or delivery of the products.
Over the last month some 30 boats have been seized by members of the Guardia Civil.
But, as the source, at the ministry explained: “There are lorry drivers who are driving all over Spain every day taking baby boquerones and chanquetes, who when they are stopped pay a fine and then continue doing it as it is so lucrative.”