Over the last two months crew members of FishAct have inspected fishing ports around the Mediterranean Sea in an effort to uncover illegal driftnet fishing. After initial work in the Italian regions of Calabria and Sicily, FishAct expanded its work along the coasts of Albania and Tunisia.
Aside from driftnet use, the team has documented various wider impacts of fishing on wildlife and biodiversity in the region. Various practices have been observed in Albanian and Tunisian ports, such as the illegal use of driftnets, the by-catch of endangered sharks and turtles in driftnets and gillnets, by-catch of threatened sea horses in trawl fisheries and evidence of the use of dynamite in coastal fishing.
The work hasn’t been without its challenges, one of the network coordinators explains: “Spending long days and nights in these fishing ports is hard. There is no overnight success and there is no media-savvy action. Instead this is about persistence and patience. Through increased monitoring we are able to gain a better understanding of what type of fishing happens where and how illegality can be best tackled.”
Over the next few weeks FishAct will analyse all the data and evidence it has gathered. The conclusions of the investigation are to be made public and will, amongst other things, aid FishAct in planning for its upcoming campaign plans.