The Gibraltar Federation of Sea Anglers have issued the following statement

"The Gibraltar Federation of Sea Anglers does not agree with what the Government has announced with regard to temporary boat licenses for non-resident recreational boat anglers.   It would like to state publicly that no decision was taken at the Fishing Working Group meeting held on Tuesday 8th March 2016 that could have been mistaken for and interpreted as recommendations that were made to the Government.

As far as GFSA is concerned nothing was agreed.  However discussion did take place on the issue of boat fishing licenses and how some of the concerns raised by Salvador De La Encina and Miguel Tornay could be addressed.  But this is what it was ‘discussion’ that required more thought and reflection before they became ‘recommendations’.

For the Government then to say in their 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 these discussions at the meeting of this Group.  It is spin that the Federation will not subscribe to.  The announcement made by the Government came as a shock and a surprise to the Federation.  It was unexpected.

Then they to go on to suggest ‘...that these recommendations will now require a small amendment to the Marine Protection Regulations, following the statutory consultation with the Nature Conservancy Council’ giving the impression that detailed proposals were thrashed out at this meeting.  This is fiction and yet more spin.

At this time GFSA is reserving its position on this matter and is not going to be hasty in how it responds to a crisis that the Government has engineered for itself.  Full and frank representations have been made to the Minister for the Environment who was happy to meet with the Committee at short notice.  He was made fully aware of the anger, concerns and depth of feeling within the angling community at the Government’s announcement.  GFSA expects these to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Press and media reports from across the frontier are saying that a new licensing regime has been agreed with the Government of Gibraltar for non-resident boat anglers and that it will commence on 1st April 2016.  As far as GFSA is concerned the Government need to make it clear publicly that no new arrangements have been agreed or are being put into place and that these cannot, therefore, start on the 1st April 2016. This is the minimum that GFSA expects, after which the Federation will be able to take a clearer stand on how to address this matter with Government."