Nerja fishermen face prison for accidentally capturing endangered shark

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Nerja fishermen face prison for accidentally capturing endangered shark
NOAA Observer Program, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Two fishermen in Nerja are facing 15 months in prison for accidentally capturing an endangered species of shark in 2016.

Francisco Pastor, aged 50, is the son and grandson of fishermen. He has spent his whole life on fishing boats off the coast of his hometown of Nerja. Since November 2020, he has been carrying out a prison sentence for having “the bad luck” that a bigeye thresher shark, an endangered species, got caught in his fishing nets near Burriana beach in November 2016.

“What was I going to do? I didn’t want to lose the nets, which are worth more than six thousand euros, and we dragged it to the shore. The fish was already dead when we took it out,” says Pastor. A photo of him next to the enormous shark taken by his cousin, 33-year-old Antonio Pastor, was his “ruin”. “He helped me take it to the shore, but he is not a fisherman, he works in construction,” said Pastor of his cousin.

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“If he hadn’t sent the photo or posted it on social networks none of this would have happened,” lamented Pastor, who was sentenced, along with his cousin, to 15 months in prison, loss of the right to work as a fisherman and payment of a fine of 386,000 euros for a crime against wildlife.

Fortunately, the judge, considering their complicated economic circumstances and account of what happened, agreed to cancel the fine as long as they did not fish again. This is a tough situation for Pastor. “I have two children, aged 30 and 21, who are unemployed and living with us, and two grandchildren, aged 11 and 5, and we only have an income of 400 euros from my wife,” he confessed.

“I need a job, doing anything, because I can’t go out fishing with my boat, which was how I made a living until just over a year ago,” said Pastor. He stated that they gave the shark to some chiringuitos because they did not know what else to do with it.


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