Dismay at Handling of Illegal Raking Case
GONHS has noted the regrettable outcome of the illegal raking case, which dates back to an incident at Catalan Bay on 26th December 2014, and which GONHS has been closely monitoring.
After three years and twenty court appearances, a judicial review and a two-day trial, no one has been convicted of offences under the Nature Protection Act 1991 and yet the Commissioner of Police, Eddie Yome, had himself tweeted that all six vessels (fishing illegally that morning) would be reported for process.
An article in the Gibraltar Chronicle (22/11/2017) reported that the Stipendiary Magistrate, Charles Pitto, questioned the sequence of events and the police’s handling of the incident, saying that he had been surprised that fishermen had been told to leave and later reported, in January 2015.
Raking the seabed is a destructive fishing method, which is quite rightly prohibited under the Nature Protection Act.
GONHS has previously issued press releases condemning this and other illegal fishing activities, lamented the lack of meaningful enforcement by the Royal Gibraltar Police and called for strict application of the Nature Protection Act.
Whilst we acknowledge that there are factors that make this a challenge, law enforcement agencies in Gibraltar, including the RGP and DEHCC, are well equipped with a number of vessels.
Properly led operations, with competent crews, coordination between agencies and support from the Royal Navy’s Gibraltar Squadron are necessary to restore confidence in the rule of law at sea and in doing so protect Gibraltar’s rich marine life.