The fishing fleet at Caleta de Velez says that each boat is losing between €2,000 and €3,000 a week as a result of the closure of their fishing grounds. The ban, affecting the incomes of about 100 local families, is expected to continue into September while the level of toxins in the water remains high.
The problem began at the beginning of August when the presence of toxic algae along the Andalucían coast started affecting all areas of production of bivalve molluscs, including clams and mussels. Previously, the EU promised aid after 21 consecutive days of the closure of fishing grounds but the fishing association at Caleta says this is no longer available.
The next sample was due to be collected in late August, testing takes around a week, and the grounds will be reopened once two consecutive samples have tested negative for the toxins.
Owners of the 81 working boats which moor at Caleta are also in dispute with the harbour master who will not allow companies selling fuel to allow their tankers into the port area to supply the vessels. Owners are therefore obliged to fill up at the Repsol pump inside the port where the price per litre is significantly higher.
For the larger vessels, this can be an additional cost of €300 a week, the association claims, and they are calling on Andalucía’s Public Ports Agency to complete a redevelopment of its security plan as soon as possible, and to allow fishermen to benefit from increased competition in the fuel supply sector.