Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Thursday, October 28, 1999 Published at 14:14 GMT


UK: Wales

Spanish fishermen compensation victory

The Law Lords have ruled in favour of the Spanish fishermen's claim

The Government has lost its challenge to a High Court decision to allow Spanish fishermen based in west Wales to claim compensation.

The Law Lords have ruled in favour of the fishermen and the Government could now face a bill estimated at up to £80m.

Thirty boats run by Spanish firms were operating from Milford Haven in the late 1980s when the Government passed a law imposing strict nationality conditions on the companies.

This prevented them from working and forced the vessels to lie idle for 15 months.

Strict conditions

The High Court later ruled that the Government had acted illegally.

The fishing row flared up in 1988 when Spanish companies set up front companies in the UK to qualify for a share of its EU fishing quotas.

The Government then introduced the Merchant Shipping Act, which set out strict nationality and residence conditions.

As a result Spanish vessels, many of them based at Milford Haven, were forced to stay tied up in port.

In October 1989, the European Court of Justice ruled that Britain must suspend part of the Act and British fishermen were warned strict restrictions on their catches would have to be imposed if the Spanish returned.

Clashes at sea

In July 1990 the House of Lords cleared the way for the return of the Spanish by granting a restraining order against the then Transport Secretary Cecil Parkinson.

Since then feelings between the two groups of fishermen have often run high, with reports of clashes at sea.

In April 1998 the Spanish fishermen received the backing of the Court of Appeal in their claim for compensation.

Twelve Spanish fishing companies based in Milford Haven were also fined over £1m in April for exceeding their fishing quotas.

The companies pleaded guilty to almost 100 offences of over-fishing and catching protected species, at Haverfordwest Crown Court.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©



Relevant Stories

22 Apr 98†|†UK
Huge fines for Spanish fishing companies

08 Apr 98†|†Europe
Spanish win legal fish fight





In this section

Labour explores Assembly election wounds

Delays hit coach crash compensation

Ex-headmaster guilty of more sex charges

Museum in pay-off probe

Euro row over "Welsh" money rebate

Germans challenge Cardiff for Tyson fight

Ticket chief resigns after World Cup fiasco

Quick-thinking driver foils 'carjacker'

Spring clean for river

Roman remains may halt rugby centre plan

Olympic rider Sir Harry is mourned

The Welsh Week at Westminster

Hanged farmer had been cautioned

Children take over the Assembly

Assembly security review follows pupil's 'threat'

Opposition parties criticise Health Secretary

Welsh airline is launched

Anglesey power plan may bring 1,500 jobs

Former paratroopers recruited drugs courier

Star's cyber-fans help Welsh charity

Labour election inquest blames party rifts

New factory creates 500 jobs

Bassey will go world wide on the web

French boycott gathers pace

Villagers fume at delay over sewage problem

Pensioner leaves fortune to birds

MP demands return of Glyndwr letter