The Paraje Natural de los Acantilados de Maro-Cerro Gordo is under constant assault from illegal fishing, according to marine biologist, José Antonio Rodríguez.
This natural park, which celebrates its 30th birthday this year, covers 1,810 hectares, stretching into the municipalities of Nerja and Almuñécar. The majority of this expanse is a marine reserve (1,415) whilst the coastal strip occupies the remaining 395 hectares.
Dr. Rodríguez, was recently at a conference organised by the Sociedad de Amigos de la Cultura (SAC) de Vélez-Málaga and the Gabinete de Estudios de la Naturaleza de la Axarquía (GENA-Ecologistas en Acción), where he raised the alarm over the “serious state of abandon and laziness” where the protection of the marine park is concerned.
He explained that after an elapse of 15 years he had returned to the area to dive, having dived many times before with both tanks and snorkel. He found that the seabed was in the same state as any seafloor without any protection; i.e., heavily deteriorated by the action of Man. He has dived in other marine reserves, such as Nueva Tabarca and Cabo de Palos (Murcia) where the protected areas not only regenerates marina fauna and flora but also acts as a species nursery for surrounding areas outside the reserves.
However, his dives off Playa Cantarriján told a different story; expecting to see abundant fish populations he was stunned by their meagre presence. In fact, all the most sought-after types of fish by comercial fishermen and scuba divers with harpoons were missing. Finally, some 16 metres down, the sandy seabed was bare owing to illegal trawling.
He considers that the different administrations have demonstrated an abysmal lack of diligence in protecting the area. Nobody appears to be keeping an eye on the area.
To date, the Junta has not responded to his criticism.
(News: Nerja/Maro, Axarquia, Costa del Sol, Malaga, Andalucia – Photo: E. Cabezas)