Friday, June 11th, 2010
Location: Off the Coast of Tunisia
Report from Captain Paul Watson, Steve Irwin
At least on the part of the European community, an effort is seriously being made to police the bluefin tuna regulations. The General Secretariat of the Sea ordered four Spanish seiners shut down, and the authorities have been inspecting the catches. There seems to be a realization that the world is watching this closely and a growing perception that the bluefin tuna is seriously in trouble.
The Steve Irwin departed from Isola di Pantelleria this morning to patrol the North African coast.
The two Greenpeace ships left around midnight and appeared to be returning to Malta. We were unable to confirm this because none of the Greenpeace crew went ashore to the island. The local authorities reported that the Greenpeace ships had not reported nor did they request permission to anchor and refused to communicate with the Italian Coast Guard.
Having the two Greenpeace ships in the Mediterranean however has helped to focus attention on the issue and with three ships from two separate NGO's plus increased military surveillance, the illegal fishery will be reduced, although certainly not eliminated.
There is no doubt that a total ban and a zero quota will be required to prevent the extinction of the bluefin. However, the price placed on the head of a single bluefin by the Japanese market is a powerful incentive to continue illegal activity.
The winds continue to blow at around thirty knots down from forty to fifty knots yesterday. This means no fishing operations under these circumstances, at least for the next few days. The Steve Irwin will use this as an opportunity to move westward to see what can be found.