Opposition Urges to Revise Local Diving Regulations

The GSLP/Liberal Opposition said the Gibraltar Government needs to treat the gaps in local diving regulations with "a greater degree of urgency than is being shown at the present", the Gibraltar Chronicle wrote today. This statement resumes last month's discussion in parliament, where the Government announced that the regulations are planned to be revisited.

The Opposition said that local businesses continue to lose out in an unfair competition with diving companies based in Spain: Not only are locals at times unable to access the diving site in Camp Bay as they find it occupied by Spanish based companies, but locals also have to comply with regulations which do not apply to foreigners. An Opposition spokesman told the Gibraltar Chronicle that these regulations include "import duty, employment, Port regulations and tax."

The Shadow Minister for Commercial Affairs Dr Joseph Garcia explained to the Gibraltar Chronicle that the Opposition had already raised their respective concerns in parliament in 2005. According to Shadow Minister Garcia the Gibraltar Government had replied at the time that "they had no plans to regulate the industry given that there were laws which already existed that prevented this kind of business from being carried out in Gibraltar. They added that if it were a case of controlling orderly access to a limited amenity then it may become desirable to convert diving into a regulated activity.”

The recent death of a German diver who was taken to a diving site in Gibraltar raised the issue anew on both a political and commercial level, the Opposition said. Minister Garcia told the Chronicle that finally the Government stated in parliament they were considering options on how to license and regulate diving activities in Gibraltar. He added that after all these years "the Government should now give it some urgency given the problems created locally by the unfair competition from those companies based in Spain."

The Helping Hand Trust and its sister charity the Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society (GOHNS) have suggested the revision of diving regulations for well over a decade. Following the announcement of parliament Eric Shaw from the Helping Hand Trust has laid out our respective concerns in an interview on local television programme 'Nightwatch'.