! Murcia Today – Mar Menor fishermen reeling from damaged nets during government inspections

Publication date: 28/10/2022

Members of the Fishermen’s Guild San Pedro del Pinatar in the region of Murcia feel unfairly punished

The fishermen in the Mar Minor are once again at loggerheads with the authoritiesaccusing Regional Fisheries Service inspectors of causing extensive and costly damage to their nets.

Routine checks of the nets are carried out by agents of the service, which belongs to the Ministry of Water, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Environment and Emergencies, to ensure that are legal and properly identified.

However, in the process, the Fishermen’s Guild of San Pedro del Pinatar claims a lot of damage has been done. “Some of my very expensive nets have been broken and inspected without notice,” local fisherman Santiago Jiménez complained, adding that the damage to his property is “disproportionate to the lack of a fishing flag. signage in my fishing grounds as they are often lost when overtaken by other boats”.

Guild spokesman José Blaya reiterated the fisherman’s sentiments and promised: “We will fight to stop the fishermen of the Mar Minorwho struggle to be continually punished as small measures are put in place to eradicate poaching.”

In response, the head of the Fisheries Service, Emilio María Dolores, retorted that the inspection of the nets is routine if they lack identification, in accordance with the regulations.

“It’s been done for years because unidentified nets are classified as illegal fishing,” he said, whether the owner was a member of the fishermen’s association or not.

“The inspectors do their job and, if they are not identified, the nets are removed and the fisherman can ask for financial compensation if he feels he has complied with the regulations. However, if the inspector says otherwise, his position prevails. .”

When a case against a fisherman is opened, it is made public for a possible counterclaim, but the fisherman will have to pay the fine before the nets are returned to him.

If the owner does not make contact, the Fisheries Department sends the nets to be recycled.

The head of the Fisheries Department warned that “measures are being taken against poaching, which is any unidentified fishing”.

There has been a decrease in sanctions against illegal fishing in the Mar Menor in recent years, although “this does not mean a lower incidence rate”, according to Dolores, “but because of the pandemic”.

Despite being a protected area, the Mar Menor is continually subject to environmental damage from an increasing number of sources, and a fortnight ago it was revealed Region of Murcia increased its Guardia Civil strength by 6.4% to boost protection.

Illegal boat parties are an obvious concern, and it was only last month that the the regional government of Murcia refused to impose fines on the participants of an illegal concentration of dozens of boats next to Isla del Ciervo in August.

Regional authorities have said that the surrounding area of ​​the island is outside their jurisdiction as it is on water and not on land. However, the Spanish Ministry for Ecological Transition has launched an investigation into the possible damage caused by the illegal boat party.

Image: CARM

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