Fishy business in San Javier

ROTTEN: Rotten carcases are providing sales for poachers CREDIT: Shutterstock

ROTTEN fish washed up on the beach is reporterdly being sold to consumers.

Bluefin tuna that is arriving on the coasts of Cartagena, San Javier and San Pedro del Pinatar is being picked up by illegal traders.

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The Fishermen’s Guild of Cartagena have informed the Head of the Fisheries Service and the Seprona of the Civil Guard that poachers are selling fish found on the beaches of La Manga and Cabo de Palos.

Bartolomé Navarro of the Carthaginian guild warned:”This fish can provoke health problems because it is rotten.”

All the specimens come from a farm owned by the group Ricardo Fuentes, off the coast of Pinar del Río.

The price of the kilo of bluefin tuna, at the fish market, usually ranges from €14 to €15, but the Fishermen’s Guild of Cartagena said this fish is selling at €3 per kilo. They carry the tuna on ice in car boots and try to sell it to shops, restaurants and passing pedestrians.

Social networks have shared videos and photographs of people approaching the beaches of La Manga and Cabo de Palos, armed with knives, to cut the tuna weighing 200 kilos. Some beaches have been closed to prevent this practice from continuing.

It has been estimated that ‘between 500 and 600 kilos of decomposing tuna’ has been marketed illegally in the last week.

The sea was full with floating bodies of 80 and 90 dead tuna and it is estimated there were 1,000 tons of tuna amounting to a loss of €40 million.

The Local Police of Cartagena have found discarded fish heads and tails strewn on the beach. Dead tuna is now being removed for disposal.

Mr Navarroof the Fishermen’s Guild said he has stumbled on dozens of dead fish. He added: “This Sunday, on the beach of Levante de Cabo de Palos there were thirty or forty stranded specimens, I saw a gentleman chopping one with the knife and told him that the fish was not to eat, but he shouted at me: ‘And what do you know’ I didn’t tell him anything else because he got a little aggressive.”

The bluefin tuna follows very strict controls of the Maritime Secretariat, both for production and fishing, whose season runs from May 15 to June 15. “These specimens are not suitable for sale or consumption because they have been dead days,” Mr Navarro warned.


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