• Law for the Protection of the Mar Menor

Quote: ‘Troubled times are ahead. Before, they saw us as a priority – but now we have become abusers’ – Deputy director of Livestock, Fisheries and Agriculture, Facundo Pérez Rubio

The plenary hall of the Torre Pacheco City Council was attended by owners of the livestock sector of Campo de Cartagena, airing their financial concerns of adapting to the Law for the Protection of the Mar Menor.

According to recent research, pollution from hundreds of intensive pig farms may have had a larger impact on the collapse of one of Europe’s largest saltwater lagoons than previously acknowledged.

As such, the majority of the 184 pig farms in the coastal region are now obliged to comply

“There are already inspections – in some cases, sanctions – which have cost 240,000 euros,” said Union spokesman COAG in Campo de Cartagena, Vicente Carrión.

Concerns arose within the farming sector, amid visits by inspectors verifying compliance with regulations.

“The application of the Law is viable for the producers, but I agree with the Minister of Water, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and the Environment, Antonio Luengo, that many investments will have to be made,” said Carrión.

“For farmers, it will be necessary to receive the help of European funds.

“Everything is mandatory by law. Aid from the Autonomous Community of €28.6 million from the Next Generation funds for the modernisation of facilities and waste treatment has been made,” he added.

Inspections of livestock farms will be aimed at waterproofing of slurry storage, which are a risk for seepage into the Mar Menor.

Measures, including complying with the legal dimensions of ponds, and diverting rainwater, so that it does not contaminate the manure warehouses, are jobs that will require investments by producers.

The regional order focuses on pig farming, due to their greater presence in the coastal region, and their impact on the environment.

The Community estimated 360 ​​inspections will be undertaken in the area, mainly in Fuente Álamo, where there are 164 pig farms.

There are eight farms in Cartagena, four in Alhama, two in Mazarrón, three in Murcia, two in Torre Pacheco and one in San Javier.

Minister of Water, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and the Environment, Antonio Luengo,  estimated more than 1,000 inspections had been carried out throughout the Region and there has been a training campaign, in which 1,500 farmers have participated.

“These are people who want to collaborate in the protection of the Mar Menor,” said Luengo.

“We will invest in knowledge, research and knowledge transfer. One of the objectives is to achieve unity of criteria among technicians.

“The goal is to guarantee the future of livestock in the Region,” he added.

The Polytechnic University of Cartagena has been working for two years to find alternatives for the re-use of manure, according to the principles of the circular economy.

Those attending the conference heard views on the impact of the Ley del Mar Menor on the farms, and listened to the presentations of biologists, veterinarians and engineers, on the adaptation of their facilities to the norm.

The deputy director of Livestock, Fisheries and Agriculture, Facundo Pérez Rubio, said: “Troubled times are ahead. Before, they saw us as a priority – but now we have become abusers.

“But it is possible to change the situation – with the support of the administration.”

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