A GUARDIA Civil patrol caught out four divers fishing illegally in the Cabo de Gata Natural Park.
Officers observed the four free diving and using spearguns in the Punta de la Polacra marine reserve.
The Guardia said the four made continuous immersions and failed to comply with safety legislation by not indicating their presence with an orange buoy.
Identifying the four as M.B.H., I.R.B., J.M.A.P. and J.A.D.S., aged 40, 31, 33 and 37 respectively, the Guardia also reported they all lacked the necessary C-4 fishing licence.
By the time the Guardia patrol came upon them they had netted 22 kilos of fish, including 11 groupers, a sea bass, a teleost fish and snapper.
Twelve of the fish the divers speared are protected species. Catching the fish on the coast of the natural park is prohibited and therefore considered a crime.
The Guardia officers did not arrest the four, but did inform them they were suspected of breaking flora and fauna protection laws and that they would be reporting them to the Junta de Andalucia Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development regional ministry’s provincial delegation.
The Guardia stressed the Gabo de Gata is a highly protected area and that the authorities carry out continuous inspections to protect the park’s flora and fauna.