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Fishing incidents raised in Spanish parliament

The recent incidents involving Maltese fishermen and Spanish tugboats have been brought up in the Spanish parliament through the Green Party, Alternattiva Demokratika said yesterday.

Following the incidents, Harry Vassallo, chairman of Alternattiva, and Prof. Arnold Cassola, AD spokesman on EU affairs, made contact with their Green counterparts in the Spanish parliament in Madrid.

Dr Vassallo and Prof. Cassola explained what happened last week in the vicinity of Malta and, as a result, Joan Saura Laporta, the Green MP from Iniciativa Catalunya-Verds put a parliamentary question to the Spanish government headed by Jose Maria Aznar.

In the question, Saura Laporta noted that while some Spanish tugboat captains had promised compensation to the Maltese fishermen, it seemed that the captain of the Spanish tugboat Pegasus refused to stop and even made obscene gestures at the Maltese fishermen.

Saura Laporta asked the government whether it knew about this incident and what it intended to do about it; whether there was any compensation for the Maltese fishermen to be given by the captain of the Pegasus; whether the Spanish and Maltese governments had started talks to resolve this conflict; whether there was the intention to reach a possible agreement which would allow the fishing fleets of the two countries to enter each other's fishing zones; and whether the tuna fishing methods of Spanish fleets in the Mediterranean respected criteria which safeguard the biodiversity so that the ecological balance of the Mediterranean sea would be respected.

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