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Montevideo, May 27th 2019 - 12:04 UTC

Gibraltar drafting legislation to allow fishing under strictly controlled conditions

Tuesday, September 17th 2013 - 07:02 UTC
Full article 13 comments
Spanish fishing vessels with their nets at Gibraltar Bay Spanish fishing vessels with their nets at Gibraltar Bay

The Gibraltar Government has taken another legislative step toward allowing fishing with certain types of nets in British Gibraltar territorial waters under limited, strictly-controlled conditions, reports the Gibraltar Chronicle.

A Bill for an amendment to the Nature Protection Act published last week is a key element of the Government’s “long-standing plan” to allow sustainable fishing within the law, senior sources said.

The Bill, which has yet to be debated and approved by the Gibraltar Parliament, does not lift any prohibition. But it isolates “seine nets, trammel nets and devices for raking of the seabed” into a specific clause of the Act. These are the traditional methods used by Spanish fishermen in Gibraltar waters.

Allegedly regulations to be published in the coming weeks will lift the ban on the methods contained in that clause, but only under clearly-defined circumstances that will include some form of registration scheme.

The latest move has been under review for months and was flagged up last month by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo in an interview with El Mundo newspaper.

“As an act of good faith ... I will propose that parliament introduces a change in the law so that the 59 boats can fish again based on their historical fishing practices,” Mr Picardo told the newspaper at the time.

The Gibraltar Government insisted that the move to lift the prohibition was not new and its policy on sustainable fishing had been explained in public and in private numerous times over the past year.

It said the objective was to amend the legislation and allow some fishing by Spanish and other fishermen in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters using lawful methods. Fishing will only be allowed within a properly-regulated and accountable regime that complies with the overriding principle.

The initiative seems directed to defuse the current dispute with Spain over fishing in the British Overseas Territory waters which has led to retaliation and threats from both sides.

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  • Conqueror

    So what “circumstances”? First of all, vessels to be registered. Licence to be applied for, fee paid. Vessels and equipment to be subject to regular inspection by Gibraltar officials. Fishing only to be permitted in clearly-defined areas. Vessels to be subject to “on the spot” checks, including on equipment and catch sizes. “Unsafe” vessels, fishing out of specified area and inappropriate equipment to result in cancellation of the licence.All catches to be landed in Gibraltar and declared. That should put in the poachers' style!

    Sep 17th, 2013 - 08:52 am 0
  • screenname

    But the Spanish fishermen claim the reef has finished fishing in the the reef going to be removed?

    If so, this sends out all the wrong signals to enemies not only of Gibraltar, but of the UK and the other overseas territories.

    I knew David Cameron had handled this badly, but removal of the reef without a lifting of the EU protected zone status of Gibraltar waters would show him up to be a traitorous snake.

    If anyone thinks Spain is going to let Gibraltar board boats, and confiscate boats/catches they are out of their minds.

    Licences to fish?????????? How does that work?????? If Gibraltar tried to interfere with any unlicenced fishing we all know what would happen: they would just come back with an escort off the civil guards.

    Sep 17th, 2013 - 01:54 pm 0
  • Britworker

    Its an olive branch, its a gesture which will allow Spain to get out of the ridiculous situation they have found themselves in, whilst saving face

    Sep 17th, 2013 - 02:04 pm 0
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