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July 5, 2008

Sardinia — Looking for Illegal Driftnet Fishing Boats

BY: Keith Ellenbogen


©OCEANA/ Keith Ellenbogen


At 9am the Oceana Marviva Med research vessel arrived at the harbor Nuovo Bacino Di Punete in the South of Sardinia, Italy. Upon arrival our land based objective was to look for any illegal driftnet fishing boats docked within harbors Calasseta and Sant Antioco near Cagliari. In years past, fisherman armed with illegal driftnets onboard their boats docked in these harbors — before heading into the Mediterranean off the coast of Italy to illegally fish.

From Nuovo Bacino Di Punete to Cagliari we drove along the winding roads through the peaks and valleys of Sardinia’s mountains topography — where the suns light cast long shadows that accentuated the view from land to sea.

Arriving in Calasseta and Sant Antioco, our team discretely walked along the harbor and photographed fishing boat after fishing boat. Within the harbors we observed a variety of different boats ranging from trawlers to longliners waiting in a state of readiness with hooks, fishing line, fishing nets, reflective (marking) buoys to fish.

In 2005 Oceana identified this area as a hotspot for illegal driftnet fishing activity. The south of Sardinia is a region with swordfish and tuna that attract the illegal driftnet fishing boats. Even driftnetters from the Ionian Sea have fished these once fertile waters.

Throughout the day I am pleased to report that we did not observe any illegal driftnets onboard these vessels. However, we remain cautiously optimistic since we have recent reports that confirm driftnet fishing boats are using these harbors.