Palma.—The Association of Balearic yacht charter industries said yesterday that the number of inspections to which they are subject by the Guardia Civil and Environment ministry representatives are not only increasing but becoming unnecessarily over-zealous.

Apparently the inspections of moorings are intensifying this season, particularly with regard to those in Cabrera marine reserve and in waters off Formentera.

The root of the complaint in Cabrera lies in the fact that unlike other years, the permitted mooring areas have not been marked out with the traditional yellow marker buoys. This means that when visiting boats see that all other moorings are taken, they have to drop anchor.

Cristina Sastre, the President of the Yacht Charter Assocation and also the head of the Spanish Federation of Yacht Charter Businesses (Fenan), has said that the Island Councils and the Balearic government need to draw the line regarding the inspections because the Guardia Civil turning up unannounced can make clients uneasy and disturb the tranquility of their holiday.

Sastre said that complaints about all-too-frequent inspections in waters off Formentera is related to the fact that only Majorca yacht charter companies are singled out for investigation, whilst those from Ibiza or Formentera, or even those from overseas are not under scrutiny.

Fines for breaking marine bylaws - inadvertently or otherwise - are very high and out of perspective to the offence, said Sastre.
She warned that what has been happening this high season can't be allowed to be repeated next year because the lack of marker buoys confirming mooring points has generated conflict.

Sastre said that the government through the appropriate authority needs to provide between 20 and 30 percent more moorings but of course, in areas where no damage can be done to delicate marine eco- systems. The yacht charter industry, she furthered, is well aware that the image and the future of the Balearic coastline is at stake.

Fully booked
Separately, Sastre was pleased to confirm yesterday that all existing yacht charter fleets in the Balearics are booked out this month. In the Balearics, there are around 80 companies dedicated to the industry whose total fleet comprises around 1'000 vessels. Representatives are reporting that business has increased around 20 percent in comparison with the same period last year.

The key client markets in the yacht charter business are Germans, French and Russians, said Sastre, adding that the economic contribution by the French and the Russians to the success of the industry has been tremendous.

Meanwhile, the Balearic United Left party (EU) wants the European Union to investigate to what extent the Balearic coastline has been eroded by illegal moorings.


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