23 Aug, 2013 @ 12:20
1 min read

Reef row dubbed political stunt by creator

gibraltar reef b

THE CREATOR of the reef at the centre of the diplomatic row between Spain and the UK has hit out at the ‘misinformed’ Spanish government, whose fishing industry has been its key beneficiary.

Dr Eric Shaw told The Guardian the furore was a politically-motivated diversionary tactic and there have been no complaints about the reef since he began building it in 1973.

He said the Spanish government has received millions of euros of EU money to create its own reefs. It has built a number along the coasts of Malaga, Granada and Almeria, which have all been modelled on the one at the centre of the row.

Shaw said: “All the Spanish authorities have ever asked us is how do we construct it.

“The reef is good for Spain and its fishermen above all because the fish breed there. They can be caught anywhere,”


The reef is made of around 30 old vessels, and is now the largest in Europe. It is extended when funds are available, or when old boats are donated to the conservation charity The Helping Hand.

Shaw said: “Before we started constructing the reef there was just sand and no life. We tried to provide an oasis by dropping old boats there. It is now a fish nursery. Bream and, in season, tuna spawn there as well as invertebrates.

“The sandy seabed has been replaced by a community of highly diverse marine life. The reef has no intention beyond conservation.”

The row escalated in the week when a formal complaint was lodged in a La Linea court alleging that nine Gibraltar government ministers had committed an environmental crime under Spanish law by ordering the creation of the reef.

The case is unlikely to be heard because the reef is entirely in Gibraltarian waters.

Find out what columnist Belinda Beckett had to say about her experience in the queue.









Claire Wilson

DO YOU HAVE NEWS FOR US at Spain’s most popular English newspaper - the Olive Press? Contact us now via email: [email protected] or call 951 273 575


  1. The hypocrisy of Spain is staggering. Only hundreds of yards away lies an artificial reef in Spanish waters off La Linea. Built along the same lines and largely paid for by EU funds.

    Details here:

    There are over 25 artificial reefs in Andalucia and over 100 in Spain as a whole. Spain filches money off the EU to build reefs while causing misery for EU citizens crossing the Gibraltar frontier because Gibraltar has done the same in its own waters (at no cost to the EU). Does the Spanish government not have any shame?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

nurse b
Previous Story

Andalucian health care cutbacks lead to attacks

Next Story

‘Pay up or be penalised’ warns HMRC

Latest from Gibraltar

Go toTop

More From The Olive Press

Fabian Picardo blasts Jacob Rees Mogg for ‘not even starting to understand’ the impact of Brexit on Gibraltar

CHIEF Minister Fabian Picardo has blasted right-wing Conservative MP Jacob
Iberian Lynx Wikimedia Commons

Lynx victory in Spain: Wild cat is almost free of risk of extinction after population surpasses 2,000

SPAIN and Portugal’s Iberian lynx population now stands at 2,000,