June 10th, 2011 by Zachary Shahan
A Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the Steve Irwin, boat full of nearly 40 environment activists is headed towards Libyan waters today, perhaps arriving as early as later tonight.
The activists, if you aren’t already aware, are going there to try to stop illegal bluefin tuna fishing.
“The Brigitte Bardot, another boat owned by Sea Shepherd, has searched the region and has reported that 23 purse seiners, which catch tuna with large nets that draw closed like purses, are now working in the area,” the AP reports.
First mate Locky MacLean said the Sea Shepherd activists (mostly volunteers) will take “direct action” if needed — in particular, they will dive into the water and cut nets in order to free tuna.
Sea Shepherd Activists Headed into a War Zone for a Reason
While the fact that Libya is technically a war zone right now, the war taking place is not happening in the water and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is keeping NATO aware of its activities.
“The Steve Irwin carries a helicopter, which will be used to scout for tuna fishermen just north of Libyan waters. The conservation group wants NATO to grant it an exemption from the no-fly zone it is enforcing over Libyan territory so the chopper can also be used to search those waters.”
The activists aren’t going into a war zone by coincidence, though. They are concerned that due to the war, poachers feel safer going into Libyan waters and not getting caught by inspectors.
Bluefin tuna, which I’ve written about a number of times, are facing collapse due to overfishing, mostly to satisfy the appetite of Japanase. Bluefin tuna spawn in Mediterranean Sea and then swim out into the Atlantic.
The Steve Irwin left Syracuse, a Sicilian port, earlier today.
Related Stories on Planetsave:
- Whale Wars’ Paul Watson Video Interview — “Arrest Me or Shut Up” (& Calls Greenpeace Activists Cowards)
- ‘Whale Wars’ Stars — Sea Shepherd Crew — Headed into Libyan Waters
- Huge Bluefin Tuna Black Market and Overfishing Identified
- Annual Quota of Bluefin Tuna Caught in 1 Week
- Sea Shepherd Wins? [Update + Video]
Keep up to date with all the most interesting green news on the planet by subscribing to our (free) Planetsave newsletter.