Poaching is rife in s’Albufera Natural Park and s'Albufera Reserve and most of the illegal fishing is for blue crab, or Callinectes sapidus, according to the Ministry of the Environment & Territory.
Environment Agents issued 140 poaching violations in the first 11 months of this year, which is ten times more than last year.
Fishing and shellfish fishing is banned in protected natural areas and there are harsh penalties for breaking the rules, but fishing for blue crabs is allowed after December 10 in some areas of Mallorca to stop the population from getting out of control.
An agreement between the General Directorate of Natural Spaces & Biodiversity and the Consell de Mallorca was finalised at the beginning of November and the conditions were published in the BOIB on Tuesday.
The Consell de Mallorca will process all blue crab fishing authorisations through the River Hunting & Fishing Service and anyone who wants to catch them will have to submit an application and adhere to specific criteria:
Blue crabs can only be caught using a rod and line with a net and clamps to extract them from the water. The chelicerae, which is a piece of the mouth that the crabs use to defend themselves, must be removed at the time of capture.
There are also specific conditions at the shoreline; the zone cannot be altered by opening roads or marking the fishing zone and fishing for blue crab is banned in areas where there is waste of any kind within a radius of 10 metres.
Once the blue crabs have been captured a summary must be submitted to the Hunting Service within 30 days of the expiry date of the authorisation papers. The catch must be for the fisherman’s consumption only and not for commercial purposes.
Fishing for blue crabs will be allowed in 11 areas of Mallorca:
3 in the Municipality of Santa Margalida, 2 in Pollensa and the rest in Alcúdia, Capdepera, Llucmajor Manacor, Muro and Palma.
The General Director of Natural Spaces & Biodiversity, Llorenç Mas says this is a pilot program which may be extended to other areas of the Balearic Islands.
Mas also revealed that he met with the Management of s’Albufera Natural Park last week to discuss ways to stamp out poaching.