Friday, April 01, 2005

Tempers may flare over Spanish fishing activities, warn Opposition

Fishing access row continues

GSLP/Libs has once again drawn attention to the activities of Spanish anglers and cockle fishermen in various locations around the Rock.

In a statement issued yesterday they call on the local Government to take measures to control what they describe as the “abuse” and “free for all” that fishing in Gibraltar has become.

Meanwhile the Opposition also warn that “tempers may very well flare one day as local anglers become more and more irate at the continuing situation.” An Opposition spokesman said:

“We have received further complaints from members of the public at the activities of non-resident Spanish fishermen in Gibraltar. This follows our previous statement on the fact that most fishing slots in the Port and other parts of Gibraltar are taken by non-resident anglers.”

“Since Tuesday, we have been approached by more members of the public who have tried to fish from Gibraltar and have been unable to do so. In one case over the Easter weekend, there were two non-resident Spanish fishermen with no less than 25 fishing rods placed in a line at the East side reclamation. In other cases Gibraltarians who went out to spend the day angling were unable to do so and had to return home as a result of this abuse.”

“On a connected matter, the Opposition has received further representations on the activities of Spanish cockle fishermen in the Western Beach basin. Every morning up to four cockle fishing boats from Spain come into the basin to dredge the area. Police have been alerted on many occasions and allegedly turn up late or they do not turn up at all. The fishermen come as close as 40 metres from the seashore.”

“It is obvious that fishing in Gibraltar waters or from our land has become a ‘free for all’ and there is a need for the Government and the pertinent authorities to exercise some control over what is happening. The persons who have approached us quite rightly, feel very strongly about this. It is obvious that there are serious safety implications in the continuation of the existing situation as tempers may very well flare one day as local anglers become more and more irate at the continuing situation. This is compounded by the fact that non-resident Spanish fishermen are doing here what local fishermen cannot themselves do in Spain.”

“There are serious political issues raised to do with the control, or rather the lack of it, by the Gibraltar Government and pertinent authorities over what happens on the land and in the territorial waters of Gibraltar. It is Government’s responsibility to ensure local anglers are able to practice their sport without this kind of restriction. There is also a clear political responsibility to protect the demarcation of Gibraltar’s territorial waters and control this kind of activity.”

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