What the La Linea mayor needs reminding of...

Carmen Gomez

Sometimes, people’s inflated egos make them forget the ever present “hemeroteca” which is there to remind everyone of what they would rather forget. We too have our own newspaper library and archives. So when the La Linea Mayor writes to complain about our land reclamation which according to him has caused chaos in their coasts; seemingly unawares that climate change is the one wreaking havoc in Spain through their greed of building on the shore lines; I thought it would be a good idea to remind him of the Algeciras reclamation some years back. 

If you recall they, unlike us; did not give much thought as to how said reclamation could affect currents etc; being the irresponsible politicians that they are; which caused increased wave heights by 50%, inside parts of our harbour. On account of this, during one mighty storm, the stone revetment was totally devastated in one area of Gibraltar.


In fact, this newspaper published a colour photograph on front page if I remember correctly, dated the 21st of November 2012, to remind all that it was Spain and not Gibraltar, who kept reclaiming land in the bay.

The map in question, if you recall, which was circulated by the association of Spanish workers in Gibraltar, illustrated perfectly the amount of reclamation in the bay around the area of the port of Algeciras and Isla Verde; the refinery and industrial estate; Crinavis and pto.deportivo of Alcaidesa which was surrounded by a huge mountain of debris. Furthermore, this reclamation of theirs was carried out without the same cross-border notifications!

Curiously then; unlike now; the La Linea association had issued a circular, pointing the finger at Spain for putting the blame on us; saying they were the culprits for the ever shrinking bay!


On top of the devastation caused on our shores, cargoes transporting rocks to Gibraltar which were needed to repair the damage, were blocked and not allowed through the frontier. When this was then tried by sea, on the 18th May 2016, a cargo ferry carrying 2,700 rocks on board from Morocco, received a threat from Spanish authorities; saying they would be adversely affected if they went ahead. Mr. Mayor, in yet another amnesiac moment, should also be reminded that the European Commission investigated the east side reclamation, following a complaint from their good selves in 2013. They ruled in 2014 that it was unable to identify any breach of EU environmental legislation in respect of the cited plot. This is the problem in Spanish politics, that very few do their homework! Or they like to appear to be downright disingenuous.

Naturally we all recognise that these are not the actions of a country who we can hope to have constructive conversations with. But maybe the Foreign Office insists that we do; who knows. I recall that in 2009, the Spanish media reported that the bay of Algeciras had been converted into the darkest point in the Spanish coast, due to fuel spillages.

Now their intention is to extend it on the Eastside area. It is proposed that as from 2030, a construction will take place of a dock of 650 metres, and an esplanade of nearly 50 hectares to the south of Isla Verde. But here comes the Pearl; they say it will not affect beaches in Algeciras but preserve them!

Have we been involved in any consultation process over this? Do we have any say in the matter? How will this affect us? Or is it just us who have to ask permission? Now their intention is also to open yet another dolomite quarry in the mountains near Coin; the town’s fourth; approximately an hour away from us, which will send yet more dust particles into the air. Apart from which, if you recall, when they wanted to designate an anchorage area off Gibraltar eastside, a vessel holding area to be converted, the Spanish government was to take action against the risk flowing from the increasing number of ships awaiting orders on the east side of Gibraltar which they call their bay. So the Algeciras port captain handed over a report to the Spanish foreign ministry to warn of the dangerous situation. This was something to be discussed at the tripartite forum!

Then again, Spain has its “Royal Decree” which allows them to do as they please, in other words. By Royal Decree, is a legal rule having the force of a law in the Spanish legal system, whereby the king is responsible for sanctioning and ordering the publication and compliance of the rule. They used this to claim in 1997, a 37 mile wide fisheries protection zone measured from the outer limit of the territorial sea; stating that said extension of jurisdiction over fisheries resources beyond territorial waters, was a necessary step to ensure adequate and effective protection of fisheries resources.

What they accuse us of!

Building on this, the EU in a 2002 document, laid down an action plan in the name of conservation, advocating the declaration of fisheries protection zones of up to 200 nautical miles. We once had a site of community importance; but it was wrongly designated to Spain when the UK was caught snoozing, which helped them further uphold their claim that Gibraltar has no territorial waters!

So, when Mr. Mayor says he is complaining to Madrid; I ask; who do we send our complaint to, now that we can no longer ask those loyal MEP`s, friends of ours, to defend us because they have left the EU?

I strongly suggest, and this is my humble opinion, that when the UK, Spain and Gibraltar get round the table on matters to do with the Environment, that we put forward on the table for their perusal, a dossier of all the things they now accuse us of which they have been the perpetrators and we the victims, before we agree to anything. Always keeping in mind that memorandums which have been set out, will cease to have effect on December 31st 2020; unless as they say, the parties decide otherwise.