The Junta de Andalucía has received over 450 applications for financial assistance from professionals in the fishing sector due to the presence and proliferation of the ‘Rugulopterix okamurae’ algae along the coast.
The regional Minister for Agriculture, Fishing, Water and Rural Development, Carmen Crespo, has said that, although this is not the Junta’s responsibility, it is doing everything it can to try to help a key sector for the Andalusian economy. “The fishing industry is being affected terribly by this invasive species which, apart from making it more difficult to fish, also damages the nets,” she said.
“As well as suffering financial losses from the reduced size of the catch, for months now they have had to spend time and money repairing the nets and other equipment that they have to use," Crespo explained.
She also criticised the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge in Madrid, saying it has a strategy to deal with the proliferation of the Asian algae but has done nothing to support the fishing sector which is suffering the consequences of the problem, whereas the Junta de Andalucía is using its own resources to help.
Crespo explained that the Junta's final objective is to try to offset, as much as possible, the reduction in income for those in the fishing and shellfish sector. This has partly caused by a drop in sales and the limitation of the number of days they are permitted to work, and now many are unable to put to sea under normal conditions because of the algae.
The Junta has set an amount of 100 euros to be paid for every day a fishing vessel cannot go to sea because of the presence of 'Rugulopterix okamurae'.