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Spain reports illegal fishing of Tuna off Gibraltar to EU

Source: Fish Information & Services - Thu 14th Aug 2014
Spain reports illegal fishing of Tuna off Gibraltar to EU

The Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment has lodged a formal complaint to the European Commission over the illegal fishing of bluefin tuna by 'recreational fishermen' on a boat 1 mile south of Punta Canero, on the western edge of the Bay of Algeciras.

This was reported last weekend by the Maritime Service of the Guardia Civil, who asserted that Gibraltar does not have a legislation regulating recreational fishing, or has a bluefin tuna catch quota. As such the Spanish Government considers that this represents a serious breach of both EU and international fishing regulations.

Fishing of the bluefin tuna is one of the most controlled one in the world and closely regulated by the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).

In Spain, recreational and sport fishing holds a reservation quota that allows Bluefin Tuna to be caught between 15th June to 9th July, when a precautionary closure of the fishery was established.

Tuna fishing in Spain was finally closed on 24 July, following confirmation of the complete consumption of the allocated quota.

"That quota is used only in the event of accidental death of the bluefin tuna because Spanish law requires the release of the specimen if it is caught", according to the Ministry.

The Ministry also notes that in in 2006 the ICCAT adopted the Bluefin Tuna Recovery Plan, whose launch helped to recover the resource and its biomass. Therefore, it is confident that the appropriate measures to prevent and punish such actions in the future are taken.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation sent a complaint verbal note to the British Embassy in Madrid. In it, it protests about the fact that the two ships of the Gibraltar police and a patrol of the Royal Navy prevented the Rio Cedena patrol from exercising its jurisdiction over a Gibraltarian vessel fishing illegally for bluefin tuna in the Bay of Algeciras.

For the Spanish government, the British troops that hampered the Guardia Civil's monitoring activity helped to protect the development of illegal fishing.

"The Government of Spain has no doubt about the limits of its territory and, therefore, the Spanish ships will continue performing their duties in Spanish waters," according to the Ministry.

Recommended Reading :

* European Commission cuts Spanish fish quotas

* EU : Gibraltar's artificial reef "Lawful"

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