Mediterranean Sea - 2010 - Greenpeace today wrapped up its six week "Defending our Mediterranean" ship tour. Two Greenpeace ships, the Rainbow Warrior and the Arctic Sunrise have been patrolling the Mediterranean, taking non-violent direct action against fishing of highly endangered bluefin tuna.
Bluefin tuna stocks in the Mediterranean are estimated to be 80% below original levels. Scientists warn that the bluefin crisis is so severe that if all fishing of the species is not stopped, stocks face collapse. Therefore Greenpeace took action against all bluefin tuna fishing this year, including illegal fishing and legally registered vessels.
"Greenpeace has been out on the high seas taking action to save bluefin tuna because governments have so far failed to do so" said Oliver Knowles Greenpeace International oceans campaigner. "Bluefin stocks are now so endangered that no fishing ships should have left port this year. The species only chance of survival is a full-scale ban on all bluefin fishing until stocks recover.”
Now that the purse-seine bluefin fishing season is closed for this year, Greenpeace will continue its campaign to save bluefin tuna and protect our oceans from land.
The European Commission ended the EU purse-seining fishing season early this year as vessels fished so intensively they reached their quota in just a few days (1); non EU vessels were able to continue fishing for a further week (to June 15).
The European Commission recently announced its support for a full-scale ban on bluefin tuna fishing in the Mediterranean. Greenpeace urges that now such statements need to be backed up by real action. All countries, including EU fishing nations France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Malta and Cyprus must endorse the closure of the fishery until stocks recover, and support the permanent protection of bluefin spawning grounds at the International Commission for Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).
"All eyes are now on ICCAT" continued Knowles. "The fisheries management body must now implement a zero catch quota so that all fishing of this hugely overexploited species is stopped until bluefin tuna stocks have recovered. The Commission must also agree to protect crucial spawning grounds."
Greenpeace is also demanding that oceans governance- including for the Mediterranean - be reformed to include a fully protected network of global marine reserves - areas of ocean off-limits to fishing, mining, drilling and other extractive activities- to cover 40 percent of the world's oceans.
Oliver Knowles, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner +44
Banu Dokmeckbasi, Greenpeace Mediterranean oceans campaigner (on board
the Arctic Sunrise) +31 20 712 2616
Jo Kuper, Greenpeace International communications +31 6 46 16 20 39
Photos and video from Greenpeace’s actions in the Mediterranean are available
For photos, contact John Novis, Greenpeace International picture desk +44
7801 615 889
For video, contact Maarten van Rouveroy, Greenpeace International video
desk +31 646 197 322