June 18, 2010
Activists “˜Liberate’ 800 Bluefin Tuna
On Friday, environmental activists from the Sea Shepherd Society said they had "liberated" about 800 bluefin tuna that were caught by poachers and being towed by two fishing vessels off the coast of Libya.
Sea Shepherd said in a press release that five scuba divers on Thursday afternoon cut open a circular holding net filled with fish below legal weight and caught after the fishing season closed.
According to the release, the operation was carried out 42 miles off the coast of North Africa in waters claimed by Libya.
It said two boats, the Italian vessel Cesare Rustico and the Libyan vessel Tagreft, were towing the net.
"Sea Shepherd is convinced that this catch was caught after June 14 and they hold the position that this operation by these two vessels was illegal," the statement said.
Activists rejected claims by the captain of the Libyan vessel that the fish had been caught three days earlier.
Bluefin tuna are becoming a major source of controversy. Green groups say that their numbers have fallen dangerously low in the Mediterranean and east Atlantic.
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