Illegal fishing for internationally protected blue fin tuna

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Seized fish delivered to charity centres for consumption.
Seized fish delivered to charity centres for consumption.

  • Alicante Civil Guard intervene 330 kilograms of fish from illegal fishing in Altea and La Vila Joiosa
  • Defendants face penalties of €60,000

By Andrew Atkinson

Agents of the Nature Protection Service (Seprona) of the Alicante Civil Guard have intervened 330 kilograms of fish from illegal fishing in the ports of Altea and La Vila Joiosa with the defendants facing penalties of up to €60,000.

The latest incident of illegal fishing occurred in the Annual Plan for the Comprehensive Control of Fishing Activities (PACIAP), where 180 kilograms of immature whiting in Altea were confiscated.

Preparation of the sale of the fish was being undertaken at the time of the seizure said la Benemérita in a statement.

“They were especially small specimens, which represents a very significant danger for the species,” said the Civil Guard.  The items seized lacked traceability as they had not been marketed through the auction, which implies that they had not passed the corresponding health controls.

Both the capture and marketing of immature specimens is prohibited. Illegal fishing for this specimen, according to the Armed Institute, responds to the high demand that exists among customers in the hospitality sector.

Blue fin tuna

In another incident in La Vila Joiosa, three bluefin tuna were intervened, weighing 150 kilograms. The merchandise was located by agents at night, inside a boat, at a time when the fishermen tried to sell it to a wholesaler.

Fishing for bluefin tuna, which is an internationally protected species, requires that the vessel has authorisation for purpose.

“If you have the relevant authorisation, you must still have a quota of tunas out of the total that you have been allowed to fish that year,” said the Civil Guard, who denounced the vessel for not having relevant permits to fish for tuna.

According to Law 3/2001 of March 26, on State Maritime Fishing, the unauthorised unqualified capture of bluefin tuna, along with the marketing of immature fish, are serious offences, and are punished with financial penalties of up to €60,000.

The alleged perpetrators have been reported to the Maritime Fishing Delegation of the Government Sub-delegation in Alicante. The seized fish have been delivered to charity centres for consumption, after passing the relevant health controls.

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