Palma.—Pilot schemes have been carried out in Minorca and it now appears that fishing is about to become another new tourist attraction which the government is going to actively encourage.

Not only will the new Balearic Fishing Law include new measures to prevent over fishing and the protection of certain species of fish with extremely heavy fines for fishermen caught breaking the new law, it will also pave the way for fishermen to supplement their income by getting involved in the tourist industry.

The idea of the professional fishing fleet taking paying tourists out fishing with them has been tested in Minorca and has apparently proved extremely successful.

Now, the Balearic Fishing Law will actively encourage the region's fleet to open itself up to holiday makers.
3'400 tons
According to government sources yesterday, there are 671 professional fishermen and women in the Balearics with a 348-strong fleet who catch some 3'400 tons of fish and sea food every year.

But, there are also an estimated 85'000 recreational fishermen and women who catch a further 1'500 tons of fish every year and the government believes that both the domestic and international tourist markets would embrace the opportunity to go fishing with the professionals.

Sources at the Ministry for Agriculture and Environment said that across Europe, fishing is a hugely popular pastime, especially in countries like the United Kingdom, the Balearics's second largest holiday market, and the initiative could prove hugely popular.

The professional Balearic fishing fleet has been financially struggling over recent years and the government is confident the scheme will help lift the industry out of the recession.

The new law is also going to include the creation of a network of marine reserves to increase the protection of the region's marine environment while also promoting professional diving, another activity the government is keen to promote and expand further with the Balearics considered one of the best diving locations in Europe.

Make money
However, the law is not all about helping the fishing fleet make money.
It also includes heavy fines for any one caught illegally fishing and selling their catch or fishing in protected marine reserves, for example.
The Minister for the Environment, Biel Company, explained that the new law is being drawn up to install some much needed order in the industry while trying to help it expand and grow.