Sentenced over Caught Shark

In 2016 a Nerja fisherman had the bad luck to bring up a common, thresher shark in his trammel-net; it was bad luck because it is a protected species.

AXA Illegal Catch Tresher SharkNow in his 50th year, this 3rd-generation, Nerja fisherman is carrying out a suspended prison sentence for netting this kind of shark some 300 metres off the beaches of Nerja.

When he saw the shark in his net he knew he had two options; lose the net worth 6,000 by casting it off, or bring it to the beach, by which time the shark would have literally ‘drowned,’ tangled in the net.

The second option was what he did and, effectively, the shark was dead by the time that they got it out of the net onto the sand.

He took a photo of his cousin, a builder by trade, who had helped him extract the 4-metre-long creature, and posted it on Whatsapp – it went viral – and it was the fisherman’s undoing. If he hadn’t uploaded it, nobody would have been any the wiser but with his cousin posing next to the ‘trophy’, it looked like it’s caputure had been deliberate.

Both men received a 15-month, suspended, prison sentence and he was banned from fishing (his livelihood) for three years. But that’s not all, there was also a fine for a massive 386,000 euros to pay

Luckily for both men, both the Public Prosecutor and Judge saw that neither man was in a position to pay such a huge fine and suspended the fine as long as the ban was observed and they kept their noses clean. The cousin was a builder, so not being able to ‘fish commerically’ wasn’t exactly a problem but for the fisherman in question, it is a disaster.

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It’s a disaster because the fisherman in question has two, out-of-work, adult children living with them, as well as their grandchildren aged five and eleven. The only income is the 400 euros his wife receives.

José denies that the shark was cut up and sold in the fish market in Nerja – he says, instead that he simply gave it to a couple of chiringuitos on Playa Burriana in Nerja. His defence lawyer at the trial was one appointed by the court who didn’t submit an appeal, so both he and his cousin have hired another one, who has requested a pardon.

But the story doesn’t end there because in 2020 he worked a municipal skiff removing flotsam from the water off the beaches – this was before he was banned from working on the waves in a motorised craft. It was in July that he rescued a 30-year-old swimmer who was literally drowning some 150 metres from the El Playazo beach. He saved the man’s life and the story made the press (we reported on it)

Editorial comment: perhaps the rescue should have been taken into account, many would consider. Having said that, his downfall was not netting the shark but for disposing of it as he did.

(News: Nerja, Axarquia, Costa del Sol, Malaga, Andalucia – Photo: Whatsapp/original story: E.Cabezas)

  1 comment for “Sentenced over Caught Shark

  1. Patrick Barry storey
    January 8, 2022 at 5:50 pm

    The sad thing is the Med is so over fished. That little remains to, breed on. The same as the awful so called By Catch in the Atlantic. Where roughly a third is chucked back. As not required or not able to be caught legally . Of course they are dead.
    So what’s the answer to this terrible waste. Don’t ask the E.U. or U.k. both have vested interests. Bigger holes in nets would really help. Factory ships disallowed. But profit is all.!!

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