Ecologists have again reported a “lack of control” over craft entering the protected waters of the Cliffs of Maro-Cerro Gordo.
Last year they handed in a report with at least ten incidents in the said waters, especially jet skis. This year, GENA-Ecologists in Action presented a report on Wednesday before the Provincial Delegate for the Council denouncing the presence and transit of this kind of recreational vehicle.
GENA reminded the provincial delegate for the environment that the Natural Area of Los Cliffs of Maro-Cerro Gordo, are part of the Andalusian Natural Spaces Network. Furthermore it is now included within the European Ecological Network Natura 2000, designated as an area of special conservation.
Because of this status it has a Natural Resources Management Plan, which includes that navigation through the park’s waters are – or should be – strictly regulated. This means that jet skis are forbidden from entering into the park waters and that they have to keep at least one nautical mile’s distance from the parks coastline.
“However, for some time we have been warning, especially during the summer, about the presence of these water bikes,” read the submitted complaint, pointing out that they even land on the beaches despite the presence of swimmers in the water.
Lastly, searching Internet, the ecologists found at least four companies that rent out jet skis: MH, Jet Sky Tours, Alboran Charters and Yumping all of which allegedly offer excursion into the natural park. These offers go from generic to specific ones to Cantarriján Beach and Cañuelo Beach, the ecologist claim.
They single out Alboran Charters because, according to GENA, its webpage offers “trips to sea dolphins;” and activity that requires a special license from the provincial delegate for the environment.
The Seaside Gazette visited the website for Alboran Charters and found no reference to trips to see dolphins. The jet ski trips are with a monitors unless the person hiring has the appropriate license, in which case he or she can go unsupervised although restrictions on use are stipulated in the rental contract.
What neither the Ideal provincial press or GENA-Ecologists in Action mention is that around 90% of the jet skis along the Costa Tropical betwen Motril to La Herradura are privately owned and have nothing to do with these charter companies.
So, we contacted Alboran Charters at their office in Marina de este, which turned out to be quite enlightening. Speaking with both José and Jorge they pointed out that the relevant ministry in Madrid stipulates that hired jet skis are not allowed to operate over one nautical mile out for safety’s sake; ie, for the safety of users should they get into difficulties.
However, the Department of the Environment for the Council says that you cannot pass closer to the natural-park waters than one nautical mile, so as the Spanish say, “how do you smoke that?”
The solution is if you want to transit between La Herradura and Nerja on a jet ski, you can choose the lesser of two evils, as safety goes, and keep just inside the park perimeter by one hundred or so.
The fact is that different administrations constantly contradict each other and you are liable to fall foul of one by obeying instructions from the other.
As far as the ecologists’ claim that Alboran Charters organises trips to see porpoises and dolphins goes, this is not true. It is not true because there is nothing on the website about it, and as both Jorge and José explained, on boat excursions you may come across these animals or even sunfish, but you keep a respectful distance. But specifically looking for these creatures is not the object of the excursion; the object is to tour the coastline for the duration specified in the cruise offer.
Coming back to the fact that the vast majority (around 90%) of jet skis used on the Costa Tropical are privately owned and have nothing to do with companies that do hire them out, we should also point out that it is estimated that a certain percentage of those privately owned machines belong to drug smugglers, therefore, together with illegal trawling within the natural park, you also have powerful jet skis operated by drug runners cutting through there and sometimes even landing drugs on the more isolated coves.
Summin up: is there are problem with jet skis, both because of the noise generated and the multiple cases of intrusion into swimmer-only areas? Yes, there most certainly is, which is why more than a few nautical-leisure companies won’t touch them.
Are the authorities doing enough about it? Sadly not. The Guardia Civil launches that patrol these waters are not enough and are underfunded for the task, so it is a losing battle against illegal trawling and irresponsible jet-ski users. Yet, some yacht-charter companies in previous years have complained about being singled out for repeated inspections whilst wrong doers (illegal fishing and reckless piloting of jet skis and speed boats) appear to escape the attention of the Guardia Civil.
(News: Maro, Nerja, Axarquia, Costa del Sol, Malaga, Andalucia)