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Spanish fishing boat boarded on east side

A Spanish fishing vessel that has persistently entered British waters on the east side of the Rock to fish illegally with nets was boarded early yesterday morning and its master reported for process.

The Virgen del Carmen I was challenged by the Environmental Protection and research Unit of the Department of the Environment and Climate Change, whose officers later called the Royal Gibraltar Police when the crew on the fishing boat refused to cooperate and provide their details.

The vessel was fishing with nets at the time, in breach of Gibraltar’s nature legislation, according to a spokesman for the Government of Gibraltar.

An RGP vessel was sent to the scene and the master then complied with the order to provide his details, which were passed to the environment protection officers, a police spokesman told the Chronicle.

The fisherman was later interviewed on Spanish radio, where he complained of harassment and insisted that he would continue to fish in what he described as “Spanish waters”.

“The moment they prove to me that those are British waters, I’ll stop going,” he told Spanish media.

A Guardia Civil vessel was also at the scene after the Spanish law enforcement agency was contacted by the fisherman.

“This morning in a joint operation between the Environmental Protection and Research Unit of the Department of the Environment and Climate Change and the RGP, a Spanish fishing vessel that was fishing illegally in protected waters within BGTW was boarded, details of the master were obtained and he was reported for process,” a spokesman for No.6 Convent Place said.

“The vessel then left BGTW. The operation was completed before a Guardia Civil vessel arrived.”

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