OFFICERS from the Guardia Civil’s Nature Protection Unit, Seprona, intercepted 300 kilos of illicit tuna and whiting in Villajoyosa and Altea.
The boat-owners involved now face fines of up to €60,000.
Seprona sources explained afterwards that the whiting, which were too immature to be legally fished but are much sought-after by local bars and restaurants, were confiscated at Altea harbour as they were point of being sold.
More Seprona officers impounded three bluefin tuna weighing a total of 150 kilos after boarding a boat late at night in La Vila where the fishermen were completing a deal with a wholesaler.
Bluefin tuna are an internationally protected species and boats, which require a specific authorisation to fish them, are allocated strictly-monitored annual quotas. The Villajoyosa boat possessed no licence of any kind, the Guardia Civil revealed.
Meanwhile, the impounded fish will not be wasted as, following an inspection to check that it was fit for human consumption, it was donated to local charitable organisations.