FISHERMEN in Caleta de Velez are speaking out after two boats were threatened with fines of up to €60,000 for using nets 2mm smaller than the law allows.
A surprise inspection took place after Fisheries Ministry turned up in a patrol boat to check net sizes, following new rules introduced by the EU for fishing in the Mediterranean.
Two boats were found to be using nets that were too small – despite fishing boss Jose Luis Guerrero arguing inspectors had not allowed for natural shrinkage.
The new rules for net size have been highly criticised by the fishing community and town hall, who argue they are ‘not appropriate’ and that the sector is being unfairly targeted.
They warned they could mean a 50% shortage in supplies of prawns and squid in fish markets over Christmas – as well as price hikes.
Meanwhile Velez Malaga mayor Francisco Delgado said fishing was ‘one of the sectors that has been most punished by the economic crisis’, adding that each boat provides around six jobs, and IU spokesman Salvador Marin called for an exception for Malaga’s coastline.
“We cannot have patrol boats being sent in to act against the boats in Caleta de Velez and dishing out fines between €3,000 and €60,000,” he said.