Government to fight compensation for Spanish fishermen

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The Independent Online
The Government last night vowed to fight a claim for millions of pounds' compensation from Spanish fishermen who say they should not have been excluded from working in British waters. The owners of at least 90 Spanish vessels launch the preliminary round of their legal challenge in the High Court today following a European Court of Justice ruling that they were unlawfully excluded from fishing in British waters.

It is estimated that the "flag of convenience" Spanish fishermen's claims could hit taxpayers with a bill for at least pounds 80m. But last night a Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food spokesman said: "We think the whole question of Spanish trawlers fishing our quota, being crewed by Spaniards and landing fish back in Spain is a crazy one and the Government has pledged to end the practice by taking action through the Inter-Governmental Conference."