Spain filed a formal protest Friday with Britain over Gibraltar's decision to abrogate an accord that allowed Spanish fishing boats to operate in waters near the British Crown Colony.

Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said Thursday that on the basis of advice from experts, his administration will not issue any licenses for fishing with nets in Gibraltarian waters.

Madrid insists that Spaniards who fish in waters near the Rock are within their rights as long as they respect applicable Spanish and European norms, diplomats told Efe.

The Spanish Foreign Ministry is urging the "re-establishment of an understanding" that would allow fishing to take place "without incidents."

Spain remains "invariable" in its position of refusing to recognize the Gibraltarian government's authority beyond the bounds set forth in the Treaty of Utrecht, the diplomats said.

That 1713 accord, which is the basis for Britain's claim to sovereignty over the Rock, limits British maritime control to the port of Gibraltar, Spain says.

Picardo's announcement overturned an Aug. 3 agreement between the Spanish fishermen and the Gibraltar administration allowing the Spaniards to operated in Gibraltarian waters until year's end.

The report presented to Picardo by his government's Working Group recommended a moratorium on commercial fishing in the waters claimed by Gibraltar.

The Rock is a territory of 5.5 square kilometers (2.1 square miles) on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea. It has been held by Britain since 1704 and became a British Crown Colony in 1713 in accord with the Treaty of Utrecht. EFE