Local Fishermen Accuse Colleague of Destroying Aquatic Life in Pašman Canal

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Dalmatian fishermen are facing an issue in Pašman canal – one from their own ranks.

For some time now, local fishermen have been protesting against Karlo Magić from Pašman, another fisherman who is supposedly overfishing in the area, reports Slobodna Dalmacija. Magić has recently placed a seine net measuring 2 nautical miles in length in the area between Sukošane and Neviđane, inciting frustration among his colleagues.

“Do you gentlemen know that Pašman canal, together with the waters of Murter, makes up a large fish hatchery? Do you know that using seine nets has never been allowed in these waters? You are either enabling or tolerating this destruction of our shared treasure.”

These are the opening lines of a charge the local fishermen filed against Magić; they sent a report to the Ministry of Agriculture, the Fishing Inspection in Zadar and Jutarnji list. Contacted by journalists, the locals bitterly stated Magić has repeatedly destroyed their creels, the fish juvenile in the area, and a certain number of fan mussels, a protected clam species.

“Once we approached him and said we would report him to the police, this is what he said: ‘I am your police, I am your Port Authority, I am your fishing inspection. Raise your reels so I can finish with my operation and then place them again.’ We don’t have anything against someone working here, but we are taking a firm stand against destroying our shared resources. Why have no other fishermen ever used a seine net in Pašman canal? Because they follow regulations”, said Željko Dešpoja, one of the co-authors of the report.

Asked about the charges, Magić presented his side of the story. ” First of all, it’s not true I’ve been using unallowed tools. Secondly, scientists haven’t yet confirmed that the canal is a hatchery. And third, the local residents who reported me use unmarked and illegal creels, meaning they are the ones who are breaking the law, as they illegally sell the fish they catch. It’s crazy that I, a professional fisherman who pays his taxes, am attacked by such people who keep pressing charges against me”, said Magić.

He added an incident almost happened recently when one of the locals boarded one of his two ships. “It was a man who built an illegal pier there, and he started to yell at us after I asked him to remove the unmarked creels. So it hasn’t been me who threatened them, it was the other way around. I spend the entire year at sea; I came to fish in the canal for a single day – and they keep complaining. It’s them who are using both legal and illegal creels that are classified as professional fishing equipment by the EU”, stated Magić.

Asked about the statements saying he destroyed the protected clams and disposed of hundreds of kilogrammes of juvenile fish, Magić said the locals should have attached photos of said clams and fish, if they were so convinced he was to blame.

According to the Fishing Inspection in Zadar, this is not the first report filed against Magić – more than ten have already piled up. However, he’s not a record-breaker when it comes to such charges, as many fishermen use the same tools at the open sea where they are more often met by the police. The fines used to be set from 500 to 2000 kuna, and they were recently raised up to 5000 kuna. Magić said he knows some fishermen who have been reported more than 50 times.

“It’s not our fault that the state hasn’t issued proper fishing regulations on time, but left us hanging instead, prohibiting half the tools we have been using for a very long time. According to current regulations, all purse-seines are breaking the law, and nobody cares about finding a solution”, Magić concluded.


Translation of excerpts from Slobodna Dalmacija.


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