Palermo

Greenpeace ship blocks Mediterranean fishing boats

Use of trawlers for anchovies and sardines protested

Greenpeace ship blocks Mediterranean fishing boats

Palermo, April 29 - The Greenpeace ship Artic Sunrise blocked a pair of boats using trawl nets to fish for sardines and anchovies on Monday in the Channel of Sicily, located between southwestern Sicily and northern Tunisia. Two activists jumped into the water with large buoys to protest the fishing technique Greenpeace claims is destroying sealife thanks to an "experimental license" that can be renewed every six months by the Italian agricultural policy ministry. Other activists on a motorized dinghy flanked the fishing boats showing banners that read "This fishing empties the sea" and "Dangerous experiment". The anchovy population in the Canal of Sicily is at risk of collapse according to data by General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM). GFCM found an average of 5,160 tons of anchovies were fished per year over the last three years, nearly twice the 2,359 tonne maximum it deemed sustainable. The same group found that sardines are at a historic minimum and unable to withstand fishing pressure on its population. The Greenpeace protest is the first action on the Arctic Sunrise's "European tour" to promote artisanal fishing. The ship is slated to navigate all the way to Brussels, where activists will plea for sustainable fishing as the European Union hammers out the new EU Common Fisheries Policy.

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