Recreational fishermen involved in illegal trade. | Archive

A report by the Marilles Foundation points to the existence of groups involved in the illegal sale of fish.

Some eighty people were spoken to. They included professional and recreational fishermen, government officials, restaurant owners, scientists, activists, and even poachers. Much of the testimony was anonymous, and it indicated that there are specific cases of collusion between professional and recreational fishermen to "launder" fish caught illegally.

There are, the report has found, highly specialised poachers who earn some 3,000 euros per month. Some amateur fishermen sell fish as well, and most restaurant owners said that they had been offered fish caught illegally.

The study shows that the Balearic Islands are somewhat better than other Spanish regions in preventing this illegal trade. There are "advanced regulations" and inspection and surveillance professionals, but resources are nevertheless insufficient.

In presenting the report on Thursday, the director of the Marilles Foundation, Anil Esteban, said that "illegal fishing and sale of fish represent a haemorrhage of money and jobs for our economy that must be stopped urgently".

He urged fishermen to "act firmly to curb illegalities" and restaurant owners and consumers to "say no to illegal fish".