Croatian fishermen continue to have unpleasant encounters with the Slovenian police.
Border incidents in the Bay of Piran are continuing. In recent days, fishermen from Umag, Tomislav Bašić, Vladimir Bašić and Petar Kraljević, who have concessions for shellfish farming in the bay, had close encounters with the Slovenian police, reports Jutarnji List on October 21, 2017.
According to Slovenia media, the Slovenian police vessel noticed that two fishermen on board a ship with Croatian flags intended to expand their shellfish farms which they put up this spring, shortly before the arbitration tribunal on the border between Croatia and Slovenia announced its decision. The farm is located near the central line of the bay, which, according to Slovenia, is part of its territorial sea.
The Slovenian police directorate explained that the police concluded that the aforementioned fishermen did not have the consent of the competent Slovenian authorities, adding that they were accompanied by Croatian police officers in their vessel.
A Slovenian policeman warned the people on board and the Croatian police officers that they were in the Slovenian sea. At the same time, the police informed the competent environmental inspection of the incident and ordered that the persons should wait for an inspector to arrive. The procedure was completed in the late afternoon.
According to Tomislav Bašić, one of the fishermen stopped by the police, the incident began when he started setting up concrete blocks for the expansion of a shellfish farm for which he has received a Croatian concession for twenty years. He and his brother Vladimir can use ten hectares of sea, while Kraljević can use four hectares. His farm is located some 300 metres from the Croatian coast, in the middle of the bay.
“I was waiting for a border agreement, but I cannot wait any longer because I have to start working. We have loans and we cannot abandon our plans now. What should I do?” asked Bašić, who had the unpleasant encounter with the Slovenian police.
“In the morning, we took a concrete block with a balloon to mark the farm. There was fog, and nobody stopped us. We put it in and then we returned with the second block. The fog disappeared, and the Slovenian police came towards us. They stopped us and asked what we were doing in Slovenia. They tied themselves to our vessel, so I could not move. They asked me if I had permission from the Slovenian authorities to be doing this. They were demanding documents, but I refused to hand them over because I didn’t want to get a fine which would later cause me problems when I try to sell my goods in Slovenia or Italy,” explained Bašić.
In the end, he called the Croatian police officers who came immediately. Everybody decided to wait for the inspectors from Slovenia to make an official report. The inspector arrived after 16:00 when it was too late to continue setting up the additional concrete blocks.
“I haven’t received a fine. But my brother went today and had the same problem, even though the police didn’t tie his boat. The question is what will happen once our police are no longer here. Maybe they’ll arrest us. I don’t know what to do because we have the concession but we cannot do our job. I will wait until January, and then we will see,” concluded Bašić.
Translated from Jutarnji List.