Monitors for fishing produced fewer than 90% disciplinary proceedings in 2019 although fishing was normal before COVID19. GOB will ask to have meetings to find out the reasons for this spectacular decrease. The sum of the Guardia Civil, the two fishing inspectors and the three monitors of the Marine Reserve of the north of Menorca, produced only five open disciplinary proceedings. The number is surprising because in 2018 there were 40 and in 2017 there were 52.
The five proceedings of 2019 referred to minor infractions of recreational fishing such as not having the correct documentation, or similar. There were no proceedings against professional fishing, nor any aspects of commercial fishing. Of the five, three were given out by the Guardia Civil and two by the Inspectors of Fishing. None was given out by the three monitors of the Reserve.
The decrease shown by the record that GOB follows each year has provoked some alarm. Already in 2016, there were many reports on the shortage of surveillance of the Marine Reserve. The situation provoked an act of protest near the Fornells Tower demanding effective protection. Sadly, biomass studies made afterwards showed a decline of 70% to 80% of the local species.
It seems that in Menorca, especially, it costs too much to be able to count on worthwhile surveillance of the fishing industry. When this occurs, it is very easy for poachers to wreak havoc.
Because there is no tally between those who deal with monitoring and disciplinary proceedings, GOB is requesting meetings with the Consell Insular (with those in charge of the Inspectors of Fishing and the Monitors of the Marine Reserve) and with the Central Government Regional Office (responsible for the Guardia Civil) with the aim of being able to find out what the reasons are.
It is expected that 2020 will be a different year because of the corona virus. However, 2019 was a perfectly normal year in terms of fishing. It is important to know why the number of proceedings dropped by nearly 90%.