Spain-Gibraltar row takes a turn

The economic and political dispute between Spain and Gibraltar over the latter’s delays in allowing Spanish fishermen access to Rock of Gibraltar waters took another turn last week.

In an interview with Spain’s Canal Sur Radio, Andalucía fisheries delegate Carmen Crespo denounced Gibraltar for its persistent reluctance to accept Bay of Algeciras fishermen’s right to “fish totally legally and without obstacles of any kind” because “they do not accept they are Spanish territorial waters.”

Crespo’s comments come after the Gibraltar government complained on Tuesday about the Spanish Navy’s alleged entry within three nautical miles around the area which it claims as its own, but Spain does not recognize.

Back in August, the Gibraltar government and Spanish fishermen’s representatives had reached an understanding on access to the waters, however isolated incidents involving Gibraltar police and Spain’s civil police force, the Guardia Civil, led to minor setbacks with the Gibraltar government refusing to formally sign the agreement in recent weeks.

“When we arrived at an agreement with Gibraltar for the fishermen we thought this was all over,” said Crespo.

Located on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory ceded to Britain from Spain in 1713 under the Treaty of Utrecht. Since 1963, Spain and the U.K. have been at odds over the territory as Spain continues petitioning the United Nations to hand back Gibraltar to Spanish control.

Under Spanish law and European Union regulations established in 1999, Spain insists its fishermen are legally entitled to fish with nets in the waters regardless of Gibraltar’s recent enforcement of a 1991 protected zone for environmental reasons.

Crespo made it clear during the interview that the Andalusian government defends the right of Bay of Algeciras fishermen and the Guardia Civil’s “good work.”


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