Costa del Sol environmentalists denounce illegal fishing in Mediterranean

Costa del Sol environmentalists denounce illegal fishing in Mediterranean

GENA-Ecologistas en Acción say that there is a lack of surveillance and control in the Maro-Cerro Gordo cliffs protected area and that publicity encourages underwater activities

Eugenio Cabezas

Friday, 27 January 2023, 12:30

The environmentalist action group GENA-Ecologistas en Acción has filed a new complaint about the impact of what it describes as illegal fishing in the protected Maro-Cerro Gordo Cliffs on the Costa del Sol.

In a letter addressed to the environment department of Malaga’s provincial authority, the Diputación, the environmentalists said that the activity continues “due to the lack of surveillance” and believe that responsibility for the area "is undoubtedly within the competence” of the provincial authority.

They have previously sent other letters reporting the activity, but on this occasion they have included photographs which, in their opinion, "prove conclusively that these operations are carried out daily with total impunity, taking advantage of the lack of surveillance of the natural area", according to GENA's coordinator, the biologist Rafael Yus.


"We are aware that this fishing is carried out by some of the local residents, but in this new document we point out several cases that are shown with photographs, all taken in just two hours that we spent in the area on Wednesday," said the ecologist, who went on to describe some of the scenes captured:

"Two people in a kayak; one of them is in charge of the paddle and the other is fishing with a rod; three people in an inflatable boat anchored in the protected area. One is at the helm and the other two each fishing with a rod; one person in an inflatable boat anchored in the protected area and fishing with a rod, and another person, in an inflatable boat, anchored within the protected area and fishing with a rod.”

The complaint also refers to spearfishing. "The attached images are sufficiently explicit and were also obtained in the same short interval of time on the same day. A diver dives in looking for rockfish. A diver arriving at the rock shows his harpoon, on the tip of which he has a fish. A diver, wearing snorkelling gear, shows a speargun in the middle of the natural site. A boat approaches the cliff, releases a diver and leaves, the diver fishes for a while, and then the same boat returns to pick him up", explained the head of GENA.

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Poor suveillance

The environmental group pointed out that both angling and spearfishing "are totally prohibited in the area, as is logical in a protected zone, which has to ensure the safety of the species that form part of its ecosystems.”

Yus went on to say, "It is clear that the authority is providing very poor surveillance and control of these activities and the worrying thing is that in the leaflets that the regional government distributes to the general public, there are calls for people to visit the site, snorkel and scuba dive.”

For example, he pointed out that instead of warning about what 'you can't do' in the area, the leaflet says in the first paragraph on page six: "One of the main attractions of this unique coastal protected area, straddling two provinces, is undoubtedly its spectacular beaches and coves, from which you can enjoy its crystalline seabed snorkelling, diving or kayaking.”

Management plan

However, the regulations of the Natural Resources Management Plan (PORN) of the natural site of the Maro-Cerro Gordo Cliffs are much more restrictive. Professional sea fishing is only allowed in certain areas, 50 metres from the beach and in inland waters, all types of recreational sea fishing are prohibited.

Sailing is only allowed 200 metres from the beach and 50 metres from the rest of the coast and boats can only be anchored in specific areas. It is forbidden to sail for sport or recreational purposes within 200 metres from the beach and freediving may not be carried out in restricted areas.

Furthermore, according to the PORN, scuba diving using personal equipment, free diving, the use of jet skis, the extraction of marine resources, and disturbing the fauna or vegetation are prohibited in the places listed in section six. "For all these reasons, we have considered it appropriate to denounce the activity, requesting that a system of surveillance and dissuasion of activities harmful to the natural area," Yus concluded.




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