At 9:00 am today, 30 Spanish fishing vessels from La Linea de la Conception accompanied by the Spanish Guardia Civil vessels met Royal Gibraltar Police patrol, who cordoned off their path in a protest against the new artificial reef staged off the Rock of Gibraltar.
The Spanish fishermen protest that the reef is destroying their livelihood. Attempting to breach the cordoned off section, the boats were unsuccessful in their attempts at trying to remove the 70 concrete blocks that were dropped for making the reef in order to prevent fishing in the area. The stated purpose for the reef is for environmental and stock reasons.
The Spanish fishermen are in the center of the latest battle between British Oversees territory claiming Spain’s livelihood has been destroyed because of placement of the reef.
Since the reef’s creation, Spain is imposing stringent traffic checks for those boats crossing the border. Brittain says this the move is politically motivated and is causing serious delays at the border crossing.
Spain reports that the border checks are necessary in stopping tobacco smuggling and money laundering.
The protestor’s presence in the bay will heighten tensions over Spain and Britons’ 300-year sovereignty dispute. Locals have reported a spate of anti-Gibraltarian incidents in recent days. Two Gibraltar-plated cars were torched while parked in the town La Linea over the weekend.
Written by Lisa Graziano