Spain fishermen protest artificial reef in Gibraltar

GIBRALTAR Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:04am EDT

1 of 7. Leoncio Fernandez, head of the La Linea fishermen, holds a red flare to mark the end of their protest at the site where an artificial reef was built by Gibraltar with concrete blocks, in Algeciras bay, La Linea de la Concepcion in southern Spain August 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jon Nazca

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GIBRALTAR (Reuters) - Spanish fishermen protested against the creation of an artificial reef in the bay of Gibraltar on Sunday and claimed the territory's authorities were blocking their access to the waters in the latest focus of tensions between Spain and Britain.

For just over an hour some 30 fishing boats circled where 70 3-tonne concrete blocks were dropped in July to form a reef that Spain said was not legal and prompted the government to ramp up border checks with the British overseas territory.

The extra controls, which have caused long waits for the thousands of tourists and locals, led British Prime Minister David Cameron to call on the European Commission to urgently send a team of monitors.

Britain claims the measures are "politically motivated and disproportionate", while Spain says it will sue Gibraltarian authorities for environmental damage from the reef.

In retaliation, Spain has threatened to impose a 50 euro ($67) border fee on tourists, restrict air space or block the enclave's lucrative ship fuelling business.

Meanwhile, the fisherman claim that the dispute over the shared waters around Gibraltar has cost them 1.5 million euros in potential income over the last year.

The territory has a population of 30,000 and relies on tourism, online gaming and offshore banking and was ceded to Britain by Spain in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht.

($1 = 0.7500 euros)

(Reporting By Dominique Searle in Gibraltar; Writing by Paul Day; Editing by Will Waterman)

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Comments (2)
Doc62 wrote:
Politics! Whiners complain about Israel gaining land when the UAR viciously and cowardly attacked them on Yom Kippur? Hey Ackmed, how did that war go? Duh.

Aug 18, 2013 10:18am EDT  --  Report as abuse
haggler wrote:
Are you talking about a different article? I thought this was about Gibraltar and fish.

Aug 18, 2013 1:49pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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