Like a chapter out of an adventure novel by Robert Louis Stevenson the research crew aboard Oceana's research catamaran, the Ranger, found themselves in peril amidst the clutches of a seven-ship band of angry fishermen wielding hooks.
The Ranger, at sea now for two weeks photographing the use of illegal driftnets in international waters off of France, was sailing peacefully when seven ships surrounded the vessel demanding cameras and other incriminating evidence. The angry commercial fishermen immobilized the Ranger's propellers with rope, and hurled fish (and four-letter words) at the crew.
Luckily, the hour-long incident ended with only the Ranger crew's ears injured, as the ships high-tailed it out of there when the French maritime authorities came to the rescue - via heliocopter.
The commercial fishermen want the photos for good reason: they document the senseless bycatch and killing of many marine life and expose the use of illegal nets. Similar images from Italy during last year's expedition led to new legislation and a crackdown on the illegal practice. Our very own Xavier Pastor (leader of our Ranger crew and head of European office) put it best...
"If anyone still had any doubt about the illegality of the French driftnets, the brutal attempts by the fishermen to try to avoid keeping information about their illegal driftnetting, at all costs, from the general public and the authorities is plain to see."
- Oceana Magazine: Tuna in Trouble Posted Mon, August 25, 2014
- CITES Listing Countdown: Less Than Three Weeks until Porbeagle Sharks are Protected Posted Wed, August 27, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: 20 Coral Species to Gain Federal Protection, Shell Files New Plan for Arctic Drilling, and More Posted Fri, August 29, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Maine’s Scallop Fishery Could See Closures, Sydney Harbor Littered with Microplastics, and More Posted Tue, August 26, 2014
- Photos: Oceana in Belize Exposes Belizean Youth to the Wonder of the Sea Posted Wed, August 27, 2014