Greenpeace takes action to stop Mediterranean Bluefin Tuna Fishing:

Activists Attempt to Disable French Vessel’s Net to Save Fish Species in Peril

Press release - 4 June, 2010
Mediterranean Sea - Greenpeace activists took direct action this afternoon to stop bluefin tuna fishing in the Mediterranean. Activists from the Greenpeace ships Rainbow Warrior and the Arctic Sunrise launched high speed inflatable boats in an attempt to submerge one side of a purse seine fishing net to free the trapped tuna. As the action started on the French vessel, Jean Marie Christian 6, other tuna vessels rushed in to stop the peaceful activists. One Greenpeace activist was injured when the spike of a grappling hook was shot through his leg. Two of the seven Greenpeace inflatable boats were slashed with knives and sank when run over by seining vessels.

“Greenpeace is shutting down this fishing operation to protect our oceans and the future of the bluefin tuna. We are taking action where politicians and fisheries managers have not.” said Oliver Knowles, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner. “Many, including Greenpeace have warned for years that without urgent action, the bluefin will disappear.”

Greenpeace will continue to take action at sea throughout the rest of the med tuna fishing season which ends on June 15. Greenpeace is demanding that the region’s bluefin fishery be closed immediately to allow the species time to recover from decades of overfishing.

Despite scientific warnings that the bluefin will disappear if fishing is not stopped and the species given time to recover, destructive fishing which will cause bluefin collapse continues. Greenpeace is demanding that the bluefin quota for the Mediterranean Sea be set to zero and that fishing operations targeting the species end immediately. Additionally, bluefin spawning grounds must be set aside as part of a larger network of protected marine reserves to put the bluefin on the road to recovery

The scientific consensus is that over 80% of the species has already been fished and that if current fishing rates continue, the bluefin could disappear as a commercial species in just a few years. Globally, over 90% of large fish, such as tuna, have disappeared from our oceans, and some scientists warn that all commercial fisheries could collapse in the coming decades. Greenpeace is demanding that oceans management- including for the Mediterranean- be reformed to include a fully-protected network of marine reserves.

“If we want fish tomorrow, we need marine reserves today,” added Knowles. “Greenpeace is acting peacefully to ensure healthy oceans and ample fish stocks for future generations. Greenpeace intends to peacefully confront Mediterranean bluefin fishing vessels in order to get the bluefin off the pathway to extinction and instead put our oceans on the road to recovery.”

Greenpeace is campaigning for a global network of marine reserves- areas of ocean off-limits to fishing, mining, drilling and other extractive activities to cover 40 percent of the world’s oceans, including the Mediterranean. This is a necessary step to restoring our oceans and fish stocks back to health.

For more information, contact:

At sea :

Oliver Knowles, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner (onboard the Rainbow Warrior) +31 20 712 2675

Marta San Roman, Greenpeace Communications (onboard the Arctic Sunrise), +31 20 712 2616

On shore :

Steve Smith, Greenpeace International communications +31 643 787 359