Some boats from Malaga did put to sea on Thursday but were forced back by stormy weather. / salvador salas

Change of mind in Malaga's fishing sector after announcing strike was over

After announcing on Wednesday that they would call off their protest, representatives decided at a meeting on Thursday to wait until they know exactly what the government is offering in the way of help

JUAN SOTO Malaga

Less than 24 hours after the strike in the fishing sector was called off, many fishing boat owners in Andalucía changed their minds and decided to remain in port until at least Tuesday after all, because of uncertainty over the government’s intentions.

On Wednesday the sector had said it would go back to work the next day, following an indication by the government that it would provide assistance in the face of increasing fuel costs. However, at a meeting on Thursday between representatives of the industry from all over Andalucía, they reconsidered: most voted to go back on strike until they know for sure how much money the government is offering and what other measures they plan to put in place. The government is due to decide all this on Tuesday.

In Malaga and Motril, the fishing boats had already returned to sea before Thursday’s meeting, although many had to come back to port because of the stormy weather.

No port or fishing taxes for three months

Meanwhile the president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno, announced yesterday that fishermen will not have to pay port or fishing taxes in Andalusian ports for the next three months, as a way of helping them to cut down their costs.

Malaga province has five fishing ports with 252 boats, and the industry provides work for 850 people directly and over 4,200 indirectly. During the three days the fleet stayed in port, they would normally have caught more than 86,000 kilos of fish.

Some in the fishing industry are warning that they will not take their boats to sea again until the price of fuel drops or enough is done to make it worth their while to go back to work. “There’s no profit in fishing at present, so there’s no point in doing it,” sources say.