Greenpeace Takes Action to Free Highly Endangered Mediterranean Bluefin Tuna

Press release - 7 June, 2010
Mediterranean Sea, 7 June 2010 – Greenpeace activists took nonviolent action to release highly endangered bluefin tuna, hours after they were captured in waters south of Malta in an effort to allow the fish to recover from decades of overfishing. The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise approached a net cage for fish being towed by a Tunisian tug-boat and attempted to cut it open. The towing line between the cage and tug-boat was also cut in order to try to prevent the tuna from being taken to a ranching operation, where the fish are fattened. Fishermen reacted angrily, forcing activists away from the net using their seining vessel and inflatable boats.

“Today’s nonviolent Greenpeace actions to free bluefin tuna are necessary if we want to keep these fish in our seas and maintain a healthy Mediterranean for the future,” said Oliver Knowles, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner. “We have taken action to set free bluefin tuna that were caught only hours ago in huge nets by this destructive fishing fleet and pulled back in order to avoid more violence from other fishing vessels. Greenpeace is acting to protect this species and the Mediterranean sea where our politicians have failed.”

He added “Greenpeace will continue to defend the Mediterranean in a nonviolent way, from fishing that has placed the Sea in peril and the bluefin at the brink of extinction.”

The nonviolent Greenpeace protest comes days after a similar action, which saw one peaceful activist injured and two Greenpeace inflatables sunk by fishermen armed with knives after attempting to free tuna from a fishing net near purse seine vessels. (1)

It is estimated that over 80 percent of the bluefin tuna have already been taken from the world’s waters and the species could disappear if fishing is not halted immediately.(2) The bluefin fishing season this year began on 16 May and will continue until 15 June.

“Those who manage this fishery have for too long ignored scientific consensus that destructive bluefin fishing must stop. Greenpeace is acting to ensure that the health of the Mediterranean takes priority over the short-term profits of the fishing industry,” concluded Knowles.

Greenpeace has for years been campaigning for better fisheries management and for a global network of marine reserves to cover forty percent of the world’s oceans, including in the Mediterranean’s bluefin tuna spawning grounds.


For more information, contact:

At sea:

Oliver Knowles, Greenpeace oceans campaigner (onboard the Rainbow

Warrior): +31 20 712 2675

Marta San Roman, Greenpeace communications (onboard the Arctic Sunrise):

+31 20 712 2616

On land:

Steve Smith, Greenpeace communications: +31 643 787 359




2. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation's 2008 "State of

World Fisheries and Aquaculture" reports that "Overall, 80 percent of

the world fish stocks for which assessment information is available are

reported as fully exploited or overexploited..." can be found here: