By Andrew Atkinson

The Civil Guard of Alicante, in an inspection carried out in the fishing port of Altea, has intervened 110 kilograms of immature specimens of hake/ merluccius.

The fish did not exceed 16 centimetres – 4 centimetres less than the minimum necessary for the legal capture of the species.

The Nature Protection Service (SEPRONA) of the Civil Guard of Alicante, intervened in the fishing port of Altea in a joint operation carried out between the Patrol and the Team of  SEPRONA of the Command.

The agents verified irregularities in the different laws on maritime fishing, in relation to the capture, marketing and transport of seized fishery products.

The fish had been caught and marketed by the alleged offenders – without having been presented for a first sale at the auction, which would have made it possible to certify their legitimate traceability.

The fish had been hidden among other pieces, whose traceability and size were correct, in order to evade police control.

During the inspection the alleged perpetrators had the fish prepared and loaded onto a truck that was going to transport it for sale in the Community of Madrid.

The average price for which this fish can be acquired illegally is around €3. Its average price in the market is €12.

The statutory size for hake fishing is 20 centimetres. The capture of immature specimens is prohibited.

The SEPRONA have lodged a file to propose a sanction against the offenders, a commercial company based in Alicante, sent to the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Climate Emergency and Ecological Transition.

The company faces a fine of up to €60,000. The inspections are carried out on a regular basis with the intention of safeguarding the species.

The fish were donated to a charity for consumption, once the relevant quality controls had been passed.