FORTY people have been arrested for illegally fishing angulas in Cantabria. Angulas are extremely expensive baby eels otherwise known as elvers and are popular delicacy throughout Spain but dwindling numbers have seen the price of these tasty morsels skyrocket as environmentalists try to protect the vulnerable species.
On April 1, The Guardia Civil recovered and released almost 8300 grams of angulas along with 65 additional items of fishing equipment including two vehicles and a boat.
At present the fishing rights for the angulas are extremely limited after the Directorate General of Fisheries of the Government of Cantabria only gave permission to fish to a certain number of professional fishermen in specific areas. This is in order to control the fishing practices and therefore protect the species which is currently classified as ‘under threat’.
The fishing of Elvers or angulas, unlike in other fishing practices, only targets fry or baby eels so over-fishing can be seriously detrimental to the population.
The Guardia Civil’s operation “SARGASSO” started back in January and included a thorough surveillance operation, along coastal hot-spots, aimed at catching the poachers red-handed.
During the arrests some of the sly fishermen, on seeing the Police, pretended that they were stretching in preparation for a jog. Unfortunately this guise was short lived as the Guadia didn´t see through their desperate ploy.