In a statement, the GNR said that the seizure occurred after a complaint via Linha SOS Ambiente e Território about another case - three birds trapped in traps, with the military later detecting the existence of dozens of fishing equipment.

Following the action, members of the Nature and Environment Protection Service (SEPNA) of the GNR of Silves and Albufeira, the coastal control detachment of Olhão and a team from the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF), went to the location to collect the traps.

To this end, the banks of Lagoa dos Salgados were covered, “a total of 63 pots [fishing artefacts] containing various captured species were viewed and collected along its banks”, the note reads.

This fishing equipment is used to capture eels, although they also capture other species, and eels are in a critically endangered conservation status, according to the red list of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources of threatened species.

“This type of fishing using unauthorized means and processes, combined with the fact that they are intended to capture eels, as this species exists in small numbers in Portugal, could constitute a crime of damage against nature (…) as well as a crime against the preservation of aquaculture heritage”, says the GNR.

The species were returned to their natural habitat and the facts were communicated to the Silves Court.

The GNR took the opportunity to call for the reporting of environmental situations through the SOS Environment and Territory Line (808 200 520), which operates permanently to report infractions or clarify doubts.