As reported to Biteback July 31, 2011 -
CAGE CUT OPEN,
BLUEFIN TUNA SWIM FREE
"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"
July 20, 2011
Tuna Pen off St Paul's Bay
damaged in attempt to free fish
Maltese aquaculture producers condemn
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
The ALF is an international organisation which
had also taken part in the protest in Malta against the use of animals in
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.
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
'In June the facility in question was
visited by officials of the European Commission' it said.
that Mediterranean Tuna Fisheries were carried out in a highly regulated
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.
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
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
(see separate story at