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2006-07-06 00:00:00

Illegal driftnet vessels caught redhanded

BY: Enrique

June 20, 2006

It’s 5:30 am and my companions Sole and Juan have just woken me up to tell me that there is an illegal driftnet vessel nearby.

Still half asleep I get the video camera ready to catch the moment on film; a “moment” that lasts some 3 hours as several kilometres of nets are pulled in.

The whole crew saw how 5 swordfish, 2 ocean sunfish and several members of the carangidae family showed up in the so-called “death net”.

Just when we thought our investigative voyage would come to a close without any further surprises, at sundown, we intercepted another boat with driftnets a few miles off Cetraro Marina. This time the net was being dropped. On coming up closer, we saw that the boat did not even have a ship’s letter.

Another day on which we on board the Ranger witness how prevailing regulations are failing to be observed. As with many other seas, the Mediterranean is suffering from unlimited over-fishing, to which driftnets, which are currently prohibited, are making a substantial contribution to the fall-off in the number of species that are essential to the development of marine life.