Fishermen's nets are cut in order to recover tackle that gets caught in them. | Elena Ballestero

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Puerto Pollensa's fishermen have denounced the activities of recreational fishermen. These are leading to losses, and so the local association has called on the government's fisheries department to intensify nighttime inspections and go after "pirates" who catch squid by using submerged lights, something which is totally prohibited.

The fishermen stress that they are not against recreational fishing, only against bad or illegal practices. They want exemplary penalties to be issued in order to, once and for all, create a deterrence.

The department says that it has this week increased nighttime surveillance, but the director of fisheries, Joan Mercant, points out that it only has four inspectors to monitor the whole of the Balearic coastline. The Guardia Civil's Seprona environmental protection branch can help, but only so much.

Using lights to fish for squid can attract a minimum fine of 30,000 euros, but the environment and fisheries ministry hasn't issued a single fine because no one has been caught in the act. This isn't an issue which is exclusive to the bay of Pollensa, but Puerto Pollensa is one of the parts of the Balearics where recreational fishing licences have increased the most. According to the fisheries department, there are currently 600 professional fishing licences in the whole of the Balearics, while there are 42,000 for recreational fishing.

Further complaints made by the fishermen refer to a group of divers who have been catching octopuses; so much so that octopuses have all but disappeared from the bay. Economic damage is being caused to them because of illegal sales and also by their nets being cut by recreational fishermen.