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  • ESG on new Fishing Regulations 201114

    20th November 2014


    The ESG welcomes the recent publication of the Fishing Regulations. As an environmental organisation we value our living environment and so measures seeking to protect and preserve biodiversity and the health of our natural heritage, receives our support.

    However, there are issues of concern raised by this first phase of the regulations.

    The big question is on enforcement of the new controls being announced. As we know from our experiences in other issues, eg littering, which in theory should be much easier to control, enforcement has not been at all effective to date. How much more difficult will it be to control fishing, a 24 hour practice, which is often clandestine, and in remote areas?

    If, as has been announced, the Department of Environment is going to “lead on enforcement”, (while not able to make arrests themselves), this will require a dedicated team, also on a 24hr basis, to cover monitoring and enforcement duties. It is critical for the success of any fishing regulation that its enforcement is applied robustly.

    The ESG hopes that, in applying enforcement measures, fishing enthusiasts are also encouraged to take greater care of their equipment and tackle, as shore based sites are, at times, left in filthy conditions – albeit by a minority.

    Another point brought into focus during the Viewpoint programme on this subject last week was continued permission under the new regulations for the “600-hook, long line fishing practice” which is carried out in Gibraltar. In the interest of wildlife conservation and preservation of our fishing stocks – and, in the spirit of the fishing regulations aims to ensure sustainable fishing practices, it would seem sensible to stop this indiscriminate practice.

    The ESG recognises the difficulties faced by local enforcement entities to stop harmful Spanish fishing practices at sea. Given the Bay is one large ecosystem it is hoped that cross border regulations can be the next target to move this issue from being a political one to an environmental one and ensure that our rich marine life can be jointly preserved for future generations.