On-board Diary: Tuna Cages Bay of Milazzo, Sicily, Italy

Author: Keith Ellenbogen
Date: July 20, 2008



With the Oceana Marviva Med stationed off the coast of Sicily we launched the Grey Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) to photograph tuna farms along the Bay of Milazzo.

On this expedition, Xavier Pastor, Expedition Leader and Carlos Perez, Operations / Logistics Manager informed the underwater photography/videograhy team that if the opportunity presents itself we will try to jump in the water and photograph the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna in the cages.

As we slowly approached the red buoys that covered the surface of the ocean and blocked the city in the distant horizon — we noted numerous small cages. With no boats patrolling the cages in sight Carlos Perez gave the order to myself and Gorka that we had three minutes to jump in the water and photograph tuna underwater trapped in cages.

With mask, fins, snorkels and cameras we rolled off the RIB into the cool blue ocean. To our surprise as we looked beneath the surface all the cages were empty —no nets and no fish.

Without further delay, and only one minute in the water — we returned to RIB and back to the Oceana Marviva Med.

We are not sure why the cages were empty, perhaps the tuna were already sold to the Japanese market or maybe they were moved to other tuna-fattening cages.