LOCAL POLICE officers caught two poachers red-handed as they took sea urchins near La Barraca.
They confiscated 321 of the shellfish as well as wetsuits and the banned implements the men were using to collect them.
They now face €600 fines for breaching regulations imposed by the regional government’s Environment department.
These permit only traditional methods of fishing for the delicacy during the December to March open season. Diving for them is prohibited and catches are limited to two dozen per person.
When the open season began last December, Javea police said they were worried by the increase in poaching as sea urchins have been massively over-fished in the past.
Only now are they populating the coast once more, but are often threatened by poachers who sell them cheaply to restaurateurs who do not decline the chance of acquiring them clandestinely.