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Agenzia Reuter - 19 aprile 1995

REUTER, 19 aprile 1995


SOMMARIO. Interessante notizia di agenzia, che va registrata perché indica a quale livelli siano ormai giunte le relazioni internazionali su questo problema della pesca d'alto mare. Non solo tra Canada e Spagna, ma anche tra Spagna e Gran Bretagna è possibile che scocchi ad ogni momento la scintilla di un incidente, foriero di aspre dispute ad ogni livello: dietro i governi vi sono infatti gli interessi di migliaia di pescatori di ogni parte, inferociti e preoccupati del loro avvenire.

LONDON - Britain's Agriculture Minister William Waldegrave warned Spanish fishermen on Wednesday that the navy would use gunboats to protect fish stocks in British waters and rigorously enforce European Union rules on fishing.

"We believe that we need tougher enforcement of the Common Fisheries Policy to protect the large fish stocks which Britain brings to Europe," Waldegrave told BBC radio.

British fishermen have been demanding strong action by the government to limit Spanish trawlers, accused of flouting international rules and destroying fish stocks.

Britain and Spain have been at odds for months over the issue. Spain and Canada traded diplomatic blows over a Spanish vessel seized off Canada's coast earlier this month. The EU, of which Spain is a member, and Canada eventually hammered out a deal on how to share out the 27,000 tonne total catch set this year by the NorthWest Atlantic Fishing Organisation (NAFO).

There will also be tough enforcement of rules on fishing in the area.

Waldegrave made clear the Spanish fishermen could expect no leniency if caught breaching laws concerning British waters.

"There are Community rules which too often have been broken...If they break the rules in British jurisdiction we will deploy, as we have already, the fisheries protection squadron of the Royal Navy to enforce those rules," he said.

Last week the British navy seized a Spanish trawler, the Chimbote, amid allegations it used illegal nets.

Its skipper, Louis Blanco Nosti, was due in court on Wednesday on charges of illegal fishing off the southwest coast of England. The court has the power to impose fines or take away fishing licences.

Prime Minister John Major has also said that British navy vessels would be on hand to ensure "strict enforcement" of fishing rules and agreements.

Last year British fishermen clashed bitterly with their Spanish counterparts.

They were infuriated by a European Commission decision allowing a 40 strong fleet of Spanish fishing craft into the so called "Irish Box" between Ireland and Britain.

During protests on land they occupied buildings, blockaded a cross Channel ferry and demonstrated at the Houses of Parliament in London's Westminster.

Asked if he was expecting more trouble this year, Waldegrave said: "I hope we don't get it but we should be prepared for it."

He added: "It is a heightened atmosphere and we will take care to deploy the resources needed both to prevent the conflict if possible, but to police the rules."

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