Sea Shepherd to Defend Bluefin Tuna in Libyan Waters

While the conflict in Libya continues to rage on, another battle for survival is taking place under the sea just offshore. Bluefin tuna were once an abundant species in the Mediterranean, but after decades of overfishing they are now classified as ‘critically endangered.’ In hopes of preserving one of the most rapidly dwindling fish, the activist group Sea Shepherd is heading to the war-torn region to fight for the survival of bluefin tuna.

Sea Shepard, fresh off of a long-running operation to hinder the activities of Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean, have set their sights on protecting one of the ocean most threatened — yet frequently consumed — species of fish. Despite a global quota on the amount of bluefin tuna that can be harvested, poachers throughout the Mediterranean continue to exceed those limits, particularly in the area off the coast of Libya.

Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd, who founded the organization in 1977, says that the group plans on sending two large vessels into Libyan water, along with several scouting boats, to cut the nets set out by fishermen. In a similar effort last year, Watson says that around 800 bluefin tuna were freed by the Sea Shepherd scuba-divers.

The ongoing turmoil in Libya, however, makes for a new and more delicate situation for Watson and his team. According to the Huffington Post, despite the unrest in the region, Sea Shepherd intends to carry out their operations in the unyielding fashion that the group has achieved notoriety (and infamy) for:

Watson said his group had informed the European Union it will operate in Libyan waters and planned to inform NATO, which is leading the air campaign meant to protect civilians in Libya from attacks, primarily from their own government. Watson spoke by telephone from Cannes, France. The Sea Shepherd boats will set sail from southern France, near Marseille, around June 1.

The expedition carries risks, said Laurens de Groot, the organization’s European director.

“We’re expecting quite a bit of resistance when we get in there,” de Groot said. “We might get into confrontations in which weapons are used. … If they ram our vessel, we’ll stand our ground.”

This post was originally published by Treehugger.


Related Stories:

Bluefin Tuna Denied Protection From Global and Black Markets

Bluefin Tuna Near Extinction

Overfishing 101: How Ocean Fish Populations are Managed in the U.S.


Photo by guano via flickr
written by Stephen Messenger, a Treehugger blogger

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Diane L.
Diane L.2 years ago

Marcia, are you aware that this "campaign" isi long over with? Read the date of the article. This happened last year. The SSCS is now heading to Antarctica to interfere and hopefully STOP the Japanese from resuming their whaling in the Southern Ocean, which is a whale sanctuary.

Marcia Shiel
M s2 years ago

Go Sea Shepard and kick their ass!!!!

Marilyn-Brian Ashman
Marilyn A.2 years ago

I often think the same as Chris F. If I would win the lottery, I also would support Paul Watson , and other animal charities. This would be the way my life would change !

Chris F.

Wish I would win the lottery to buy Mr. Watson a fleet of destroyers to fight all those greedy idiots who are poaching the worlds oceans...

Lynn D.
Lynn D.2 years ago

Yeah, Sea Shepherd! Keep up the GREAT work! and, thanks for post!

Carole R.
Carole R.4 years ago

Thanks for the post.

Carole R.
Carole R.4 years ago

Thanks for the post.

teresa royer
Teresa royer4 years ago

Sea Sheperds the heros of the sea!!!!!! our prayers,love and best wishes go to all of you,i know we all be careful out there this will definitly be a dangerous task....go get em!!!!

Robert O.
Robert O.4 years ago

Good for them. Best of luck. Thanks Lindsay.

James Taylor
James Taylor4 years ago

Good for them. I applaud their bravery and wish them the very best of luck, but unfortunately humans have shown repeatedly that they are completely incapable of managing anything responsibly while money is involved, and while there is money attached to fish, this will continue. Sustainability and profit cannot and will not go together, that's the way it is.