Eurocámara 231124: E-002530-2023 Conflict between Spanish fishing vessels and Gibraltarian authorities

Pregunta de Clara Aguilera (S&D)

Respuesta del Vicepresidente Šefčovič

Question 4 September 2023 Clara Aguilera (S&D)

Subject: Conflict between Spanish fishing vessels and Gibraltarian authorities

Since the conclusion of the fisheries agreement between the EU and Morocco on 17 July 2023, fishing vessels in the Gulf of Cádiz operating near the Rock of Gibraltar have faced constant harassment from the authorities of the Government of Gibraltar, a British
colony now considered a third country by the EU.

The fisheries sector in La Línea de la Concepción (Cádiz) has been fishing in those waters for entire lifetimes without any problems.
However, in recent years, Gibraltar’s authorities have asserted that the waters are their own and that Spanish vessels cannot fish
there, and they have sent out patrol vessels to hound Spanish vessels.

It is not the first time that incidents of this kind have taken place. What is more, they are happening at a time when, in the absence of
an agreement with Morocco, fishers have to fish more in those waters.

In the light of the foregoing:

  1. Is the Commission aware of the state of affairs that fishers are facing in the Gulf of Cádiz?
  2. What steps can the Commission take, in cooperation with the Spanish Government, to protect them?

Answer 24 November 2023 Vicepresident Šefčovič

The Commission is aware of the incidents raised by the Honourable Member.

The Commission recalls that, in line with Articles 4(2) and 52 of the Treaty on European Union, the EU respects the territorial integrity of Member States and that the territorial scope of the Treaties is defined by reference to the territories of the Member States where EU law applies.

The Commission, on behalf of the EU and in close cooperation with Spain, is currently negotiating an agreement with the United Kingdom in respect of Gibraltar which would ensure enhanced cooperation in the area of Campo de Gibraltar and contribute towards diminishing the occurrence of similar incidents.

231124 EP Q de Clara Aguilera (S&D) on Conflict between Spanish fishing vessels and Gibraltarian authorities A Vicepresidente Šefčovič E-002530-2023