The Guardia Civil has developed a device for the prevention of professional poaching that has culminated in the seizure of 15 specimens of undersized octopus in the municipality of Águilas (Murcia), according to sources from the Benemérita in a statement.
The actions began last July, when agents of the Nature Protection Service (SEPRONA) were carrying out activities to combat maritime poaching in the waters of this municipality.
In one of these services, members of the Armed Forces observed the presence of a professional fishing boat whose crew, upon noticing the police presence, threw overboard two plastic bags inside which 15 octopuses, all undersized, were found.
The seized fish were taken to the fish market in the fishing port of Águilas, where it was confirmed that none of the specimens were of the minimum size, the smallest weighing less than half a kilo and the largest less than one kilo. It should be remembered that the minimum size permitted by fishing regulations is one kilogramme.
The action resulted in several reports and complaints for illegal fishing of octupus vulgaris and the seizure of the pieces, which were deposited in the aforementioned fish market at the disposal of the Fisheries Service, which depends on the Directorate General for Livestock, Fisheries and Aquaculture.
After being analysed and deemed fit for consumption by the Food Safety and Zoonosis Service of the Directorate-General for Public Health and Addictions, the octopuses will be handed over to a charity centre.
According to Law 12/2007 of 12 March on Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture, poaching on the coastline carries administrative penalties, with very serious penalties of up to 300,000 euros in the case of professional maritime fishing, as well as the seizure of fishing gear, equipment and tools, the confiscation of catches, and the withdrawal, suspension and disqualification from obtaining fishing licences for a period of up to two years for serious offences and five years for very serious offences.
The operation was carried out by the Guardia Civil in collaboration with the Fisheries Service of the Directorate General for Livestock, Fisheries and Aquaculture, within the framework of the Annual Plan for the Control and Inspection of Fishing Activities (PACIAP).