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Greenpeace rounds up 'wall of death' fishing nets

Greenpeace rounds up 'wall of death' fishing nets

Italy, June 23, 2006-- Greenpeace activists aboard the Rainbow Warrior
early this morning confronted Italian fishing pirates in the
Mediterranean sea, some 65 kilometres south of the Italian island of
Ponza, confiscating a section of the 8 kilometre long and 12 metre deep
driftnet from the Italian vessel, which was being illegally used to
catch a dwindling stock of swordfish. A sea turtle caught up in the nets
was cut loose by the activists and released back into the sea.

The fishing pirates were using a fishing practice that has long been
banned by the United Nations and the European Union because it also
traps and kills thousands of whales, dolphins and turtles each year in
the Mediterranean. (1). Every night at this time of year these fishing
pirates have cast enough driftnets to span the length of the
Mediterranean and back again.

"Driftnets are walls of death, and their use is flagrant piracy," said
Alessandro Gianni aboard the Rainbow Warrior. "Greenpeace continues to
expose the offenders, but let's be clear - the responsibility to enforce
the driftnets ban and punish these villains lies with the Italian
government and the European Union. It is scandalous that for years
Mediterranean governments have continued to condone piracy, when the law
has given them a mandate to protect the Mediterranean Sea."

The Rainbow Warrior left Genoa this week on the first leg of its
three-month Defending Our Mediterranean tour of 7 countries. (2) The
Greenpeace ship Esperanza has also just completed a three-week tour of
the Mediterranean, part of the global expedition Defending Our Oceans. (3)

Greenpeace is calling for the establishment of a network of marine
reserves covering 40% of the sea to protect threatened marine life,
replenish the sea's fish stocks and conserve the beauty and productivity
of the Mediterranean. (4)

"All the countries of the Mediterranean from Africa, Asia and Europe
need to take a united stand on our sea - to stop illegal fishing and
protect this shared resource. The livelihood of millions of people
depends upon it," said Sofia Tsenikli of Greenpeace Greece aboard the
Rainbow Warrior.


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