Plea to save Nerja marine life

Maro-Cerro Gordo Natural Park

A DIVER from Nerja has raised the alarm about the consequences illegal fishing is having on the Maro-Cerro Gordo natural park (pictured).

Bernabe Jorge Toledo, manager and instructor at the Buceo Costa Nerja diving school, claims that illegal trawlers are destroying marine life in the park’s waters.

He says that little remains from the equivalent to 10 football pitches of Mediterranean seagrasses which could be found years ago, and that seahorses and razor shells are disappearing.

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Budget cutbacks have resulted in increased illegal fishing in the area, Toledo points out.

On top of that, a court ruling forced the Ministry of Environment to dismiss most of the guards at national parks under its responsibility, jeopardising the recovery of the local environment.

The diving instructor claims he has reported two boats with at least 12 illegal fishers on board to the Guardia Civil, to no avail.

In that sense, he has criticised the lack of action of the authorities, to which he has sent proposals to prevent illegal fishing, but never seemed to take them into account.

The proposals include the placement of artificial reefs to promote marine life and block ship passage.

This, Toledo adds, would also benefit the tourism in Nerja as divers would be interested in exploring the seabed in the area.


  1. Spain remains 50 years behind Britain and 30 years behind France in social and environmental reforms. The question is, can it catch up?

    Jari Lyytimaki at the Finnish Environmental Institute defined the 4 major reasons why environmental issues are ignored – all of them about perception and awareness. Key factors in getting recognition were media attention, socioeconomic and historical dynamics. The social and historical dynamics are clear: it took Spain until 2013 to mount major campaigns to stop violence against women something tackled in the UK in the mid 50s and in France in the mid 80s.

    As Spain’s economic future remains uncertain people will do what they have to do to survive and if that means cheap, illegal fishing then that is what they will do. I cannot help but think better, more creative solutions are needed. The same old knee-jerk reactions produce very little. The idea of creating artificial reefs is a very good beginning but more is needed and unless the appropriate authorities are not told but forced to act by central government nothing will happen.

    Spain is evolving into the 21st century and its recent dramatic financial downturn might, in time, produce a more robust and fair society but for now it is a nation in a state of flux. The European Parliament, steeped as it is in ancient French and German systems, is of little help. Spain needs to do this on its own. There will be casualties, as there are in every evolutionary process, but if corruption could be finally defeated and politicians forced to become much more accountable, there would be reason for hope.

    Maybe the problem at Nerja will act as a catalyst to increase public awareness of the fact that money is not everything. We need this planet and all living things on it to survive – including the seagrass.


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