The fishing boats may return to work after Wednesday. / Eugenio cabezas

The Costa del Sol’s fishing fleet stays in port, adding to the shortage of fresh food

The 252 boats registered in the province would normally have caught more than 86,000 kilos of fish in the three days that they are supporting the hauliers' strike

JUAN SOTO Malaga

The 252 fishing boats registered in Malaga province have stayed in port to protest at the increase in fuel prices and to demand government help to keep the fleet going. Their owners decided to join the hauliers’ strike until Wednesday, adding to the shortages of fresh food because they would normally catch more than 86,000 kilos of fish in these three days.

Several fishermen also travelled to Almeria today, Monday, to protest alongside their counterparts there and from Granada and deliver their demands to the government representative in the province. During the demonstration, the president of the Andalusian Federation of Fishing Associations (Faape), José María Gallart, said that going out to fish now means losing money.

Wednesday is the day when the fishing sector has a meeting scheduled with the minister, Luis Planas. Depending on the results of that meeting, they will decide whether or not to go back to work.

Financial assistance

Among other measures, the sector is calling for the Minini regulation to be applied, which gives companies up to 30,000 euros in financial assistance. They also want to be excused from making Social Security payments and say interest-free loans should be made available. “We can’t add our increased fuel costs to the price of fish, so it’s no longer profitable for us to go out,” they say.

The 252 fishing boats in the province are based in Vélez-Malaga (77), Estepona (65), Fuengirola (44), Marbella (42) and Málaga (24). The sector provides direct employment for 850 people and more than 4,200 indirectly.

Wholesale market alarm

The lack of fresh fish to sell is causing alarm in Mercamalaga, the biggest wholesale market in the province. After eight days of supply problems, the fishing section of the market has now written to the government’s representative in Malaga demanding that legal action be taken to put an end to the strike.

They have also asked for their monthly rent to be reduced from 14 March, due to the effects of the strike which began on that day and is still continuing.