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Maltese Fishermen Lash Out At Greenpeace

MALTA - The Federation of Maltese Aquaculture Producers has hit out at Greenpeace over an incident which saw a Greenpeace activist injured by a grappling hook during a protest against tuna fishing.

The incident occurred when the activists attempted to disrupt a fishing operation and tried to free the fish already caught and which was destined to go to Maltese fishfarms.The injured activist is being treated in Malta, reports The Times of Malta.

The federation condemned the use of violence but pointed out that the incident occurred because the activists intervened in a legitimate fishing operation. The fishermen, it said, had done nothing to provoke attention from the activists except by carrying out their legitimate business.

"The activists’ effort against the fishermen cannot be considered other than violent and illegal. There is no other way to define a concerted and well planned action which seeks to prevent another from carrying out his lawful activities," the federation said.

"The activists cannot have expected the fishermen not to resist the attack; they sought confrontation and got the confrontation they wanted."

The federation noted that a French patrol boat which was in the vicinity called the activists by radio and commanded them to desist because the fishing expedition was being conducted legally and was being monitored properly; the activists did not obey the command and, according to press releases issued by Greenpeace, they insisted that they didn’t care whether the fish was being caught legally.

"The Greenpeace activity was violent and unlawful. They alone bear the blame for the consequences of yesterday’s incidents."

The federation pointed out that the Blue Fin Tuna fishing carried out this year by the fleets of the European Union is highly regulated and sustainable. All purse seiners trawlers carry international observers on board and are subjected to an unprecedented level of controls. The purse seiners are required to fish according to scientifically set quotas and the available season has been reduced to only 30 days. This year’s season, which ends on the 14th June, has so far been marred by bad weather in this area of the Mediterranean.

The federation urged Greenpeace to give up its confrontational stance and to return to an honest and open discussion on the continuation of the fishery in a sustainable manner.

the Fish Site Editor

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