The pirate fishing vessel, Luna Rossa, cut off its illegal driftnet and fled from the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise.
Driftnets - described as "walls of death" because of the way in
which they indiscriminately snare not just their target species,
but everything in their path - killing whales, dolphins and
turtles in addition to other marine life, have been banned by the
United Nations and the European Union. Our activists retrieved the
illegal net and we reported the vessel to the relevant authorities
in Italy and the European Union - though so far with no
They can run but they can't hide
Fortunately, the helicopter on the Arctic Sunrise has been
repaired - it was damaged when the ship
was attacked by Turkish fishermen a few weeks ago - and so we
were able to catch up with the Luna Rossa to get its name and
number, despite the crew's attempts to hide this information from
us with tarpaulin, buoys and footballs!
They were clearly unimpressed about Greenpeace turning up as
they were hauling their illegal catch. They made rude gestures,
exposed their buttocks and hurled abuse at our activists over the
No time for talking
The Arctic Sunrise is exposing these pirates but the real
responsibility for enforcing the driftnet ban lies with the Italian
government and the European Union. Yet Mediterranean governments
continue to turn a blind eye to these activities, essentially
condoning the crimes and failing in their mandate to protect the
Mediterranean Sea from such acts.
Greenpeace is campaigning for a global network of fully
protected marine reserves covering 40% of our oceans as an
essential way to protect our seas from the ravages of climate
change, to restore the health of fish stocks, and protect ocean
life from habitat destruction and collapse.
As part of this campaign, the Arctic Sunrise is currently in the
Mediterranean documenting threats to the sea and promoting the
designation of marine reserves. Our three-month expedition -
"Defending Our Mediterranean" - began in May, and we have already
confronted Italian driftnet
fishing vessels and Turkish purse seiners targeting bluefin
tuna. We have also mapped and documented seagrass meadows requiring
protection in Greece and Libya.
The Mediterranean Sea is in crisis and the industry is fishing
itself to death. Swordfish stocks are dwindling, and driftnets go
on reaping a deadly bycatch. Bluefin tuna is set to share the same
fate as cod in the north Atlantic, and vital fish breeding and
feeding areas like seagrass meadows continue to be destroyed.
We are urging all Mediterranean countries to unite and protect
their sea - to stop illegal fishing and preserve their shared
marine resources. Laws without enforcement are worthless. It's time
to stop talking about protection and start taking real action to
stop the plunder. If we want fish for the future, we need marine
Help our oceans recover by joining the call for a global network of marine reserves.
The Arctic Sunrise continues to defend the Mediterranean and we rely on donations from people all over the world to keep our ships going. Please give whatever you can.