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Tuna Pen off St Paul's Bay damaged in attempt to free fish
As reported to Biteback July 31, 2011 - CAGE CUT OPEN, BLUEFIN TUNA SWIM FREE

received anonymously:

"On July 19, ALF activists liberated dozens of bluefin tuna from a cage off the maltese coast, causing 100.000 Euro in damages.

In an act of sanity and compassion an undetermined number of this endangered fish was released back into their freedom.

Animal Liberation Front"

updated story:

July 20, 2011
Tuna Pen off St Paul's Bay damaged in attempt to free fish
Maltese aquaculture producers condemn incident

Unknown divers last night damaged a tuna pen off St Paul's Bay in what appears to have been an attempt to free tuna. received an e-mail from a group calling itself ALF (Animal Liberation Front), saying it had liberated Atlantic Bluefin Tuna by cutting the nets of the "fattening pens" .

"This species is on the brink of extinction and therefore we saw no other option to take action and free this highly endangered species."

The ALF is an international organisation which had also taken part in the protest in Malta against the use of animals in circuses.

The 50-metre diameter tuna pen belongs to Azzopardi Fisheries, who have called in the police. Director Charles Azzopardi said that the net cost �95,000.
This sort of action, he said, was 'unacceptable' as the fishing activity was perfectly legal.

"We cannot have a situation where people resort to violence because they do not agree with something. If they have a problem, they can meet us and we will discuss it. If they are right, we will stop our actions," Mr Azzopardi said. "But if they are wrong, they should stop".

He said one of the divers who carried out the crime may have got trapped and left his knife kit on site. "He could have died," Mr Azzopardi said.

The number of lost tuna is thought to be very small.

The incident was also condemned by the Federation of Maltese Aquaculture Producers which called upon the authorities to take all measures to bring the perpetrators to justice and prevent a repetition in the future of these acts of vandalism.

'Private individuals have no right to take the law into their hands to intervene or hinder commercial operations especially when these are conducted according to law.'

The FMAP said the vandalism acts were misguided and could have easily ended in tragedy.

'The operator in question has purchased fish that was caught legally.

'This fish was placed in a farming facility that operates according to Maltese law and international regulations.

'In June the facility in question was visited by officials of the European Commission' it said.

It said that Mediterranean Tuna Fisheries were carried out in a highly regulated manner.

An annual quota is established scientifically and managed under the most stringent controls.

Catches in excess of quotas or which contain undersized individuals are released.

The farming activities are then subject to continuing checks and controls to guarantee adherence with the regulations.

FMAP said blue fin tuna fishing in the Mediterranean was the best managed worldwide.

'It is also sustainable and fishery indicators show that stock recovery is well underway.

In a related development, Captain Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd organisation issued an 'emergency SOS' to supporters calling on them to 'Save Our Ship' after a Scottish court upheld an application by a Maltese company, Fish and Fish Ltd, to detain its flagship Steve Irwin due to a lawsuit. The company has sued the conservation organisation after its divers last year damaged its tuna nets and freed a large number of tuna.

"I am writing to you from the ship, in Lerwick, Scotland: I need your help to free our flagship vessel, the Steve Irwin," Capt Watson wrote in the appeal.
(see separate story at )

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