Friday, 27th July 2012
Fishing conflict: Picardo to meet Spanish representatives next week
by F Oliva
Spanish fishermen have suspended their protest action planned for the end of the month and have accepted an invitation from Chief Minister Fabian Picardo to meet again in Convent Place on August 3rd. It follows a meeting earlier this week which was not made public, between Mr Picardo and Pedro Maza the spokesman of FAAPE, Andalucia’s federation of fishing ‘cofradias’.
A Gibraltar Government statement said: “After a short meeting in Gibraltar this week with Pedro Maza, the Chief Minister has convened a meeting of the representatives of La Linea and Algeciras fisherman for August 3rd in order to assess the progress made by the environmental working group established by the Government.”
Speaking to the Chronicle yesterday, Sr Maza said that he expected progress from this new meeting and that the current situation had created an
economic problem for fishermen.
“We will be going to Gibraltar in the expectation of solving the problem or at least half-solving it; we expect an agreement or at least an agreement in principle to the dispute,” he declared.
Sr Maza said it would be a serious error “if nothing were to emerge from this.”
He said that with sufficient goodwill from the parties, progress would be possible.
The Spanish representative acknowledged there was intense pressure on all sides and also people on both sides “who would prefer that there is no agreement.”
Sr Maza said that it was a
matter of concern that there should be persons from outside the Campo and Gibraltar
areas “creating an inadequate climate and fostering confrontation.”
He said that these people “who live well beyond this area,” do not know the day to day life of our communities, arguing that it is “those who live here” who have to endure the consequences of whatever problems are created.
Sr Maza reiterated that fishermen had steered well clear of “Ayuntamientos, politicians and any political interest or involvement.”
He added that they would be attending next week’s meeting in good faith and with an honest and open predisposition to move forward. Sr Maza further reiterated that his main concern was centred on an agreement for the adequate exploitation of fishing resources.
Earlier this month, Sr Maza had expressed pessimism at the “snail-pace” of negotiations and stated that they did not recognise the Memorandum of Understanding with the Gibraltar Government which they had never signed, and which he further described as “a political initiative by the Mayor of La Linea Gemma Araujo, which had not even been ratified by the La Linea fishermen.”
Sr Maza had stated that they expected the final definitive
report of the technical
commission to be ready by July 30th.