Conservation groups hit at aerial help for tuna fishers – Fishupdate.com

Conservation groups hit at aerial help for tuna fishers Published:  05 June, 2008

ILLEGAL aerial support is being given to tuna catchers according to WWF and Greenpeace who have renewed calls for the urgent closure of the Mediterranean bluefin tuna fishery.

The conservation organisations say they have obtained field evidence revealing that two Italian spotter planes are currently being used to provide “illegal aerial assistance” to industrial tuna fleets fishing in the central Mediterranean, in the waters between the islands of Malta,Pantelleria and Lampedusa – an area where at least 28 Italian industrial tuna fishing vessels are active, according to Greenpeace and WWF sources.

Aerial spotting in support of bluefin tuna fishing activities is

completely banned in the Mediterranean by international law, as it gives too strong an advantage to a massive hi-tech fleet that is already far larger than the capacity recommended by scientists for the survival of the species and the fishery.

“What more blatant proof of violation of fisheries management rules

is needed?” asks Dr Sergi Tudela, head of fisheries at WWF

Mediterranean.

“This new case of illegal activity in the Mediterranean bluefin tuna fishery adds to the argument that the fishery is out of control and must be closed now.

“We also call on the EU to launch an urgent investigation.”

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