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June 20, 2006

Illegal driftnet vessels caught redhanded



Its 5.30 am and my companions Sole and Juan have just woken me up to tell me that there is an illegal driftnet vessel nearby.

Still half asleep I get the video camera ready to catch the moment on film; a “moment” that lasts some 3 hours as several kilometres of nets are pulled in.

The whole crew saw how 5 swordfish, 2 ocean sunfish and several members of the carangidae family showed up in the so-called “death net”.

Just when we thought our investigative voyage would come to a close without any further surprises, at sundown, we intercepted another boat with driftnets a few miles off Cetraro Marina. This time the net was being dropped. On coming up closer, we saw that the boat did not even have a ship’s letter.

Another day on which we on board the Ranger witness how prevailing regulations are failing to be observed. As with many other seas, the Mediterranean is suffering from unlimited over-fishing, to which driftnets, which are currently prohibited, are making a substantial contribution to the fall-off in the number of species that are essential to the development of marine life.

I am 100% behind Oceana, which with its courageous campaign, is trying to put an end to illegal driftnet vessel fishing in the Mediterranean.