Government yesterday noted the concerns expressed by the Gibraltar Federation of Sea Anglers in relation to “possible details in changes” being considered to some aspects of the types of recreational fishing from boats for non-residents. In response to the concerns raised by the federation earlier this week the Government statement said this was being considered exclusively in relation to type ‘B’ licences – that is line fishing from boats, and does not include fishing from shore, long lines, spearfishing or tuna fishing.
Gibraltar Federation of Sea Anglers raised its concerns after news had emerged from Spanish media reports of “a new licensing regime which had been agreed with the Gibraltar Government for non-resident boat anglers starting April 1”. “
The Government statement yesterday said huge strides had been made in improving marine protection in Gibraltar, something that the Fishing Working Group and GFSA themselves had recognised.
Government assured the GFSA that would continue to work alongside these bodies in order to protect Gibraltar’s marine life and ensure future enjoyment by the community.
GFSA STATEMENT THURSDAY
The GFSA felt full and frank representations had been made to the Minister for the Environment who had been happy to meet with the Committee at short notice and he was made fully aware of the anger, concerns and depth of feeling within the angling community at the Government’s announcement and that it expected these to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
The statement late Thursday said the GFSA was not in agreement with the Government announcement regarding temporary boat licenses for non-resident recreational boat anglers. It made clear no decision had been taken at the Fishing Working Group meeting held Tuesday 8 March “that could have been mistaken for and interpreted as recommendations” that were made to the Government. Raising its concerns the GFSA urged the Government to “make clear publicly that no new arrangements had been agreed or were being put into place”.
“This is the minimum the GFSA expects, after which the Federation will be able to take a clearer stand on how to address this matter with Government,” it added, believing these discussions require more thought and reflection before becoming recommendations.
“For Government to say in a press statement that ‘the Fishing Working Group have since recommended to the Minister that the period for which temporary boat fishing licenses are given should be extended and that there should be a catch limit’ is not a reasonable interpretation of what was the final outcome of the meeting of this group,” said the GFSA claiming this to be “spin” which the Federation will not subscribe to.
Meanwhile the Government statement yesterday claimed the issues had been discussed at length at the two hour meeting on Tuesday 8 March between the GFSA, Minister for the Environment Dr John Cortes and Department of the Environment officials.
“As was made clear then and at the time of discussion at the Fishing Working Group – which is composed of many different stakeholders – last week, the details of any proposed changes which are currently being worked out will be referred back to the Working Group and, as stated by the Government in its original press release, will be put to the Nature Conservancy Council for their advice as the law requires. Consistent with the Government of Gibraltar’s environmental policy, any steps taken will be sensitive to the marine environment and be such as to ensure that there is no significant negative impact on the environment, and that they are not detrimental in any way,” said the Government statement.