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A Trawler in the Park

 

A Trawler in the Park
María José Cornax
September, 2007

trawlersWe practically haven't slept at all. The dive with the ROV was impressive, in spite of the fact that it was in shallow water, we spent three hours observing the nocturnal feeding habits of squid and cuttlefish and the dark shadows of the predators hunting the small fish attracted to us by the lights.

At 2 a.m., when we thought we were going to sleep, Jesus saw a fishing boat within waters of the National Park at less than one mile from the coast. We couldn’t believe our eyes -- another trawler, trawling at less than one mile from the coast, at seven meters depth and within waters of the National Park. What’s more, the area around the National Park is a fishing reserve where trawling is prohibited. We took pictures and video images of the boat and returned to the area where we anchored.

At 6 a.m., Carlos wakes me up to show me something. As soon as I wake myself up and look in front of me, I can't believe my eyes and I have to go downstairs to make myself a cup of coffee because I just can't believe it's possible, I must be interpreting the law incorrectly. Directly in front of us, in Area B of the fishing reserve and within one mile of National Park waters, there are 16 dredgers working away. As a fishing technique, a hydraulic dredger is towed by a boat and uses high-pressure water to raise the sea bed, destroying the sediment where it operates in search of clams.

Once again, we report the fact to the National Park guards and the Guardia Civil. A patrol boat appeared shortly after, but the dredgers had moved on to Area C, where they are allowed to operate. After documenting all of this, we set sail towards Rota, where Mauro and Tomeo (the ROV technicians), Gorka (one of the divers) and Pepe disembarked.