Protection of the Southern Waters of Gibraltar

The Habitats and Birds Directives

The Birds Directive (Council Directive 79/409/EEC) was introduced to protect all naturally occurring wild birds and their habitats in the European Union. The Habitats Directive (Council Regulation 92/43/EEC) was introduced for the purpose of the conservation of natural habitats and of wild flora and fauna within the European Union. The Nature Protection Act 1991 gives effect to these Directives transposing all the obligations required therein. To help achieve these aims both the Southern Waters of Gibraltar together with the Rock of Gibraltar were designated as a dual SAC/SPA. 


Marine Protection 

The Marine Protection Regulations 2012 build on the provisions of the Nature Protection Act 1991 and provide additional legislative requirements in relation to activities such as recreational and commercial fishing, scuba diving and other water sports within the entirety of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters.  The requirements of both the Water Framework and Marine Strategy Framework Directives are also implemented throughout the entirety of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters. These Directives are transposed locally through the Public Health (Water Framework) Rules 2004 and the Marine Strategy Regulations 2011.

Relevant Authorities

A competent authority includes any statutory body or public office exercising legislative powers, whether on land or sea. Relevant authorities are those competent authorities which have powers or functions within or adjacent to a European Marine Site. The Relevant Authorities have full control over the contents of the Management Scheme.

For the Southern Waters of Gibraltar, the Relevant Authorities are:

  • Department of the Environment
  • The Environmental Agency
  • Gibraltar Port Authority
  • Ministry of Defence
  • Royal Gibraltar Police
  • Nature Conservancy Council
  • Gibraltar Defence Police

All Relevant Authorities are required to discharge their functions so as to secure compliance with the requirements of the relevant local legislation. All the Relevant Authorities that have participated in the development of this Management Scheme recognise and understand that they can do no more than act within their existing powers. As a result, it will be up to each organisation to take responsibility for those areas over which they have statutory duties and powers.