JAVEA Policia Local officers have returned 325 sea urchins to the water after they detained two poachers.
Sea urchins have been a protected species in Spain since 2005 and are considered a delicacy by some foodies.
The edible part of an urchin is known as ‘uni’ and is available in sushi restaurants and is regarded as an aphrodisiac in Japan.
It’s also popular in Mediterranean cuisine where it is blended into sauces or tossed with pasta.
Sea urchins in Spain can only be harvested by hand and in a limited three month season between December and February.
Diving is strictly prohibited as a means of catching them, but passers-by saw a diver exiting the water at Portitxol cove with a bag on Friday morning.
The diver and his friend put the bag into their car boot with their vehicle parked on the beach.
It had difficulty getting traction, with the noise of the tyres attracting the unwanted attention of other people who called the police on the suspicion they were sea urchin poachers.
Officers stopped the two Spaniards- both aged 47- en route and seized their illegal catch, which they put back in the water.