There is one man who is stirring the Gibraltar conflict.
And that man the Spanish Foreign Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo. Aug 4, 2013 - 12:23:41 PM
His anti-Gibraltar opinions were obvious in the first minute of him getting the job. He greeted the British Euro MP, Charles Tannock, with the words, ‘Gibraltar Español’.
The Gibraltarians have been hearing this sort of comment for some time, and so they don’t often take notice. But this time is different. García-Margallo is determined to ‘turn the screws’ on Gibraltar.
Following the allegations over a jet-skier and a Guardia Civil patrol, the latest point of conflict is the decision of the Gibraltar Government to drop 70 concrete blocks with steel fixings in a zone at the end of the airport runway. They say it is for an artificial reef and that it will help to rebuild fish stocks in the area.
Local fishermen from La Linea and Algeciras have attacked the measures and since the concrete blocks have been placed they have not gone out to sea. They claim that no environmental study was carried out and no permission given.
The local fishermen use the method of drag fishing where the net is dragged though the water or along the sea bed. One can understand their anger therefore if the concrete blocks are in one of their dragging areas.
However it seems the fishermen have a short memory, because in 2006 Spain constructed a similar artificial reef off the coast of La Linea using 88 blocks many also using steel fixing points.
In fact the Junta de Andalucía has installed 25 artificial reefs along the Andalucía coastline over 20 years.
Madrid’s complaint harshly attacked the use of concrete blocks but never mentions the word ‘reef’.
Madrid says that the action ‘is a violation of international law in Spanish waters, a violation of European Union law and their environmental restrictions, an environmental crime, and a penal crime’.
Local ecologists groups have said the matter is more political than environmental. ‘The problem is‘, they say ‘that there is no dialogue'.