Catching the catchers: Google Earth exposes illegal fishing on Canary Islands

At least some fishermen on the island of Fuerteventura in Spain’s Canary Islands are illegally bottom-trawling beaches for fish, Spain’s Green party charges in a complaint to the European Union. How do they know? They saw it on Google Earth, report Spanish media (for example, El Pais) citing a Spanish newswire story. As a result, the EU will now investigate the practice, which is banned on the Canary Islands, and has meanwhile admonished the local government to be more vigilant, as the law is being broken “in plain light of day and in view of satellites” (translated from Spanish).

Alas, no photos are supplied with the articles, but there is a location mentioned: Sotavento beach. A quick Geonames query later, and we had our target:



There is no metadata for the imagery, provided by local company Grafcan, but Grafcan says it was taken in the past two years. Grafcan’s imagery has not been without controversy: An earlier update was accused of covering up new development by local Greens (a conspiracy theory without merit, I feel) and certainly did censor local bases, though the censorship was removed in the latest update.

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