The Rock of Gibraltar has (with backing from the UK) put a spanner in the negotiations over granting local fishermen rights to fish around the rock by declaring itself to be a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under EU rules.
Say the Rock in a press release issued today:
The Government of Gibraltar is pleased to announce, in accordance with the requirements of the Nature Protection Act 1991 and the EU Habitats Directive, the designation of the Rock of Gibraltar Site of Community Importance (SCI) as
a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). This has been effected through the publication of Legal Notice 118/2012.
The Rock of Gibraltar has long been recognised as an important biogeographical area due to its rich diversity in species and habitats. It is for these reasons that it was designated by the EU as a Site of Community Importance in 2006. In fulfilling our obligations on the management of the Rock of Gibraltar SAC the Government will be working with relevant bodies to ensure the long term sustainability of these areas, which must be developed and enhanced as one of Gibraltar’s most precious resources.
Local fishermen from La Línea, who have emptied the rest of the sea of fish, kept going into the fish rich waters of Gib to pinch the squid there. Gib doesn’t actually have much of a fishing industry, but objects to the Spaniards coming into their waters to pinch their squid, or whatever. Spain is making a heck of a fuss about the fishing rights, and London is, to be frank, ignoring them as a bored parent does a spoilt child, letting Gib and Seville fight it out themselves.
In fact, just last week Spain issued a “diplomatic note” to London over the matter, and the fishing industry asked the King of Spain to mediate in the “crisis”. Not one single British paper seems to have mentioned any of this.
Gib actually tends to ignore most of the small Spanish fishermen in the area, but has issued directives to the Gib police to escort any industrial fishermen, or trawlers, out of its waters, especially those huge fishing boats with the nets that destroy the bottom of the sea.
This latest move, announced today, is a rather nuclear move, and Spain is screaming blue murder about it, especially as the SAC includes waters that Spain insists is its. I wonder if nuclear subs are still allowed into SAC’s?
The right wing section of the Spanish press doesn’t know which is worse – the banning of bulls in San Sebastian or this.