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Spain and Gibraltar in Fishing Row

Chris Haris
01 June 2012, at 1:00am

GIBRALTAR - A row has blown up between Spanish and Gibraltar fishermen over fishing rights in the Bay of Algeciras.

The Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Miguel Arias Caete, said that the Spanish fishermen were operating in the area as the always had with the same fishing gear and the fishing fleet is operating within the laws of the European Community.

However, he said that Gibraltar had arbitrarily changed the fishing conditions for reasons that were completely unrelated to what the Spanish fleet was doing.

Speaking to the media at the Congress of Deputies, Arias Caete said that Gibraltar is totally lacking in traditional fishing fleet, "so there is no conflict of interest between fleets."

The minister said that in this conflict "there are no environmental interests to protect, as the Spanish fishermen fish responsibly. The underlying policy objective is to recognise Gibraltar, which has jurisdiction over the waters surrounding the Rock and the isthmus."

Snr Arias Caete said: "Our fisheries are fully entitled to continue fishing as they have always done and the Spanish Government has instructed the Civil Guard protect them and defend them in the development their usual fishing."

Snr Arias Caete said he was confident that "the Government of Gibraltar will reflect and stop harassing the Spanish fishing boats and establish a dialogue with the Spanish fishing sector that allows the normal development of their activity."