Italian television channel RAI 3 exposes the use of illegal driftnets in Calabria
A report aired by RAI 3, the Italian public television channel, shows how illegal driftnets are used in ports previously reported by Oceana.
Press Release Date: December 18, 2013
Oceana calls for the total elimination of the use of driftnets within the context of the ICCAT meeting starting today in Marrakech.
The Italian public television channel aired a documentary on Sunday that exposes the illegal activities of various driftnetting fleets operating in Calabria. Used to catch swordfish and tuna, driftnets were banned in the EU in 2002 because they kill cetaceans and other threatened species. As such, activities related to driftnets, including fishing, landing and sales, are carried out illegally.
The international marine conservation organisation Oceana, works actively to eliminate driftnets in the Mediterranean and collaborated in this documentary. During a 3-year campaign, Oceana identified more than 150 vessels that continue to use this illegal gear after having received at least 900,000 Euros in subsidies to convert to other, more selective gear. The Italian port of Bagnara Calabra (Calabria) represents one of the “hot spots” for this illegal fishing gear. Each year, tons of swordfish caught in kilometres of illegal driftnets are landed in these ports.
Furthermore, the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) began today. The future of bluefin tuna and other pelagic species such as swordfish in the Atlantic and Mediterranean will be negotiated this week. The use of driftnets in the Mediterranean to capture large pelagic species, including swordfish, was banned by ICCAT in 2003. During this meeting, the commission will determine whether or not the parties involved are complying with this ban and will examine other management measures, as well.
Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe, stated: “The use of driftnets in Italian ports like Bagnara Calabra is very common. Oceana finds and reports the same vessels year after year with kilometres of driftnets on board. These are the same vessels that received substantial amounts of money for their conversion to other gear. But Italy is not the only EU state in the Mediterranean that harbours driftnets in its ports. Other examples include Morocco, Turkey and Algeria. Once again, Oceana stresses the need to eliminate this illegal fishing gear in the Mediterranean”.