Oceana reports that Italy has ignored the European Union and has reintroduced illegal driftnets

El Ministerio de Pesca italiano da vía libre al uso ilegal de la red de deriva denominada ferrettara con un decreto ambiguo

Press Release Date: May 6, 2010

Location: Madrid


Oceana Web | email: webadmin@oceana.org | tel.: 202.000.0000

The Italian Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Policy published an ambiguous decree yesterday which eliminates the limits on distances from the coast for the use of driftnets known as ferrettaras. These nets, which in theory are used to catch small pelagic fish (sardines, anchovies, etc.), have been authorised with a mesh size of 18 cm so they will catch forbidden species such as swordfish and tuna. Consequently Italian fishermen have been using ferretarra licences to continue fishing with illegal driftnets, forbidden by the European Union in 2002.


Oceana, the international marine conservation organisation, has been demanding the annulment of the decree authorising ferretarra use for several years. On 21st May, Oceana observers once again documented the landing of illegal tuna captured with ferrettara from several boats in the Porticello Port near Palermo, where ferrettara licences represent over 20% of the fleet.


Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe stated: “The Italian Government is not only ignoring community regulations, but it has also given in to industry pressure, going even further by institutionalising this illegality despite the fact that a claim brought against Italy by the European Commission for illegally using this fishing method, is still pending judgement. This could imply a fine of millions of Euros for this country”.


The new decree amendment would mean that boats over 15 metres long using ferrettara could sail, without impunity whatsoever and against a community prohibition, to far off swordfish fishing grounds such as the Sicily Canal or the Ionian Sea.


Xavier Pastor concluded: “This decree simply means the reintroduction of driftnets into Italian legislation several years after the community prohibition was brought into force. The European Union needs to take immediate action”.


Oceana has photographs and a video on driftnets


Report: “Italian driftnets. Illegal fishing continues”


Oceana TV: “Driftnets. Death curtains”