Mussel madness: ‘€47 million hit’ to tourism from coastal farm in Axarquia

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COALITION GROUP: Oppose the project as they fear it will damage tourism.

PLANS to farm mussels off the Almuñecar coast will mean a €47 million loss to the region’s tourist industry and cost nearly 750 jobs, it is claimed.

Opposition to the project, off the coast at Punta de la Mona, is being led by the town’s mayor, Trinidad Herrera.

He heads a coalition of business groups linked to tourism, and political representatives, who claim any advantages to the local economy from the new business will be more than outweighed by the scheme’s adverse effects.

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The farm would generate business worth an estimated €5 to €8 million for the local economy, but, he claims, only about 10 to 20 people would be employed.  

Herrera leads a coalition of groups including hoteliers who represent residential-based tourism, sport-based businesses including diving and boating, and a number of councillors who fear it will damage Almuñecar’s international image in the competitive market for overseas tourists.

In a lengthy report the scheme’s opponents point to the cumulative financial losses the region will have to withstand based on the knock-on effect of reduced incomes for so many businesses.

“It is more difficult to quantify the impact or damage such a project would have on the brand image of Almuñecar as a tourist destination,” he said.

But the presence of the farm places hurdles in the way of those renting or buying a coastal home, anyone considering a berth in the marina or people involved in water sports, all of which damage the marketing image of the area, said Herrera.

“Any benefits would only go to enrich the company involved,” he said.

The mussel farm platform will be located directly in front of “an important tourist space for the municipality.”

The report opposing the scheme has now been handed to representatives of the Andalucian government’s agriculture and fisheries sectors without whose backing the scheme cannot go ahead. 

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