Fines for occupying the beach in Cabrera and also other beaches could be far steeper than initially suggested. | R.L.

The Terraferida environmentalist group has presented a "denuncia" to the regional environment ministry in which it insists that the government takes action against the three superyachts which were responsible for establishing a type of luxury camp on the beach in Cabrera last weekend. The group says that the government has the wherewithal to pursue its own action and to not leave this to the Costas Authority.

Under the law for conservation of areas of environmental importance, there is provision for fines ranging from 6,000 to 100,000 euros. Spokesperson for Terraferida, Jaume Adrover, maintains that the government has sufficient legal means at its disposal if it wants to issue penalties. Sanctions are not, therefore, the exclusive preserve of the Costas.

Adrover says that the yachts have engaged in "illegal" practices at other beaches - Es Trenc and Es Carbó as well as Coll Baix (Alcudia) and Cavalleria in Minorca. All of these beaches come under one form or another of protection, as is the case with Cabrera.

Terraferida believes that there are two reasons for issuing penalties. One is the illegality of putting up beach facilities such as parasols. The other, specifically in respect of Cabrera, is a breach of the general plan for uses and management of the (national) park. It draws attention to an article in this plan which says that the transport of more than twelve people - which was the case at the weekend - requires prior permission.

The government, argues Terraferida, has a legal means which could be applied immediately. Adrover suggests that there should be an exemplary punishment in order to prevent situations such as that at Cabrera getting out of hand.

Caterina Amengual, director of natural spaces and biodiversity, says that the department is still in the process of instructing proceedings. She acknowledges that there could be a double penalty applied, with the yachts and the company hiring them out all potentially liable.