Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 13:21
Updated: Tuna Pen off St Paul's Bay damaged in attempt to free fish
A diver cuts nets in last June's Sea Shepherd 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.
timesofmalta.com 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.
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 http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20110720/local/sea-shepherd-issues-sos-save-our-ship.376479 )
In: Other News
Tags: malta, ALF, Animal Liberation Front, video, tuna, blue fin tuna, cages, afm, fishermen, boats, capsize, mediterranean, fishery, legal, helicopter, airlift, hospital, mater dei, government, police
Location: Malta (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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