Boats may be confined to port. | Elena Ballestero

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Fishermen in the Balearics are facing the possibility of ceasing to fish because of the huge increase in the price of fuel.

Toni Garau, the general secretary of the fishermen's association, points out that fuel currently costs 1.25 euros per litre, twice as much as a year ago. Some fishermen are therefore operating at a loss. He calls this "an unprecedented crisis", although the fishermen have known previous difficulties, such as the financial crisis from 2008 that triggered increases in fuel prices.

With the current situation, there is no expectation of there being a fall in fuel prices in the immediate future. Fishermen's associations from across Spain are to hold talks with the national minister of agriculture and fisheries, Luís Planas. They hope to secure measures such as discounts on social security contributions and the establishment of minimum aid. If these are not enough and they have to remain in ports, they will need to be compensated.

Garau is warning that there will be a shortage of fish, if the fishermen can't go out. He adds that the present situation is unsustainable for a sector in which some 500 people currently work.