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17th March 2016, 20:43

GFSA "shocked" at Government announcement on extension to licences for Spanish fishermen

The Gibraltar Federation of Sea Anglers says it is shocked at the Government’s announcement that it will recommend an extension to licences granted for Spanish fishermen in Gibraltar waters, and says it expects – as a minimum – that the Government publicly announce no new arrangements will start on the first of April.

This follows a meeting between the Chief Minister and PSOE MP Salvador de la Encina last week in which the issue was raised on behalf of Spanish fishermen.

The Federation says it has not agreed to anything, and that the Government’s announcement is nothing but ‘fiction and spin’.

The Gibraltar Federation of Sea Anglers says no decision was taken at the Fishing Working Group meeting, held last Tuesday, that could have been mistaken for and interpreted as recommendations that were made to the Government.

It says the issue of boat fishing licenses was discussed but nothing was agreed, and expressed the view that more thought and reflection was needed before they became ‘recommendations’.

The Federation says the Government’s statement that the Working Group has recommended that temporary boat fishing should be extended and that there should be a catch limit is not a reasonable interpretation of the final outcome of the discussions at the meeting of this group. They have described it as ‘spin’ that they will not subscribe to, and add that they were shocked by the announcement.

The GFSA says it is reserving its position on this matter and is not going to be hasty in how it responds to a crisis that the Government has engineered for itself. Representations have been made to the Minister for the Environment, and the Federation says it expects these to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

It says the Government needs to make it clear publicly that no new arrangements have been agreed or are being put into place and that these cannot, therefore, start on the 1st April 2016. After this, the Federation says it will be able to take a clearer stand on how to address this matter with Government.