We are surprised to see that in its response to the concerns we have raised on illegal fishing in our waters, the Government appears to have accepted such as a fact of life. This activity constitutes the continued flouting of our laws and this Alliance Government made a commitment to stop this; to again lay the blame for lack of enforcement with the RGP demonstrates either a naivety on their part when they made the commitment to stop fishing and uphold the rule of law, or a disingenuous approach towards the electorate by making a commitment that they knowingly could not deliver; their 2011 manifesto read “We do not believe it is right to allow illegal fishing in our waters and we will stop this immediately”
During its last term the Alliance Government spent extravagantly on the marine sections of the various law enforcement agencies, while this was laudable, the taxpayer is entitled to see a return on that investment represented by the enforcement of our laws at sea. Saying that the amount of illegal fishing so far this year is lower than in previous years is to admit that one of its flagship policies, accompanied by the cry of “aqui no se pesca” has been an abject failure.
Trevor Hammond, Shadow Minister for the Environment, said “There is nothing sensationalist about holding the Alliance Government to account on this issue, which they made a cause celebre, and on which they have failed to deliver on their commitments. Dr Cortes cannot on the one hand criticise the previous administration for allowing illegal fishing and then admit that his administration is doing precisely the same thing, despite a promise to do otherwise. I will give praise where it is due and have done so by citing the success of the artificial reef, but Dr Cortes knows that such successes are as nothing if we then permit illegal fishing activities to destroy the environment we have created. While Dr Cortes may cherry pick any recommendations from the Government commissioned fishing report which might have been implemented, it is no accident that the very first recommendation is that ‘commercial fishing should be stopped in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters in accordance with the Nature Protection Act’, is he willing to concede that this recommendation has been either rejected or ignored?”Read More