As we woke up this morning the Oceana Marviva was docked in the harbour of Palma de Mallorca. With the afternoon to explore the island, Enrique Talledo, Oceana’s underwater videographer and I traveled to Palma Aquarium (www.palmaaquarium.com).
This morning we decided to launch the grey RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) into the ocean with Carlos Perez as the captain, myself (Keith Ellenbogen), photographer, Enrique Talledo, videographer; and Cesar Fuertes, deckhand to get close to the tuna cages and purseiner fishing boats.
From the RIB the Oceana Marviva is seen observing and documenting the French purseiner, Gerard Luc IV, ST 900236, transferring tuna into the cage.
With the break of light, blue skies, calm seas and a watchful perched on the boats A-Frame, we continued to follow the two fishing vessels into the Balearic Sea. At 10 am this morning with no land in sight, 30 miles South of Formentera Island, I could hardly believe my eyes. As I gazed at the horizon all I saw was fishing boat after fishing boat. It was an orgy of tuna fishing boats in a mad rush to catch the bluefin tuna in the annual migration to spawn in the Mediterranean.
On this Sunday morning the two French purseiner fishing boats Gerard Luc IV ST 900236 and Gerald Jean IV MA-916469 remain anchored in the Bay of Formentara Island. The only activity in the bay this morning was The Govern de les Illes Balears an environmental cleaning boat that was removing plastics or trash floating in the bay. On a positive note I have not noticed any garbage floating past our ship.
Many people ask me why we are following these purseiners bluefin tuna fishing boats? What do we hope to accomplish?
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not” — Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
The first problem to address is tuna populations are seriously declining. These are not fabricated numbers or stories. It is real and worse yet really happening. Only two generations ago the tuna populations used to be healthy. Today they are in the eve of colapse.
With overcast skies and a slight sea breeze at around 8am two of the four purseiner fishing left the bay heading southeast. We decided to remain anchored and wait with the two other purseiner fishing boats.
A Little Visitor
This morning, while waiting and watching the fishing boats, we were greeted by a cute little yellowish bird that perched itself on the blue/green rope high above the bow of the boat and on the railing of the observation deck.
With the sea continuing to sway our boat from side to side like a pendulum we remained patiently anchored outside the harbor from sunrise to sunset — watching and waiting for the French purseiner fishing boats that are nearly out of sight to depart. At this point we are not sure for how long or why they are docked but we will continue to wait.
As the sun descends behind Ibiza’s mountains I feel fortunate to enjoy the tranquility of time and this ‘buena vista’.
On this overcast morning with occasional light rain we remained anchored just outside Ibiza’s harbor as a satellite communication equipment specialist came onboard the ship to install some necessary equipment. By mid afternoon with the break of the sun all our communication systems were successfully working.
This morning was filled with excitement as we tested both of Oceana’s RIBs (rigid inflatable boats) for maneuverability to document legal and illegal bluefin tuna fishing boats in the Mediterranean. At 9am the crew of the Marviva Med lowered the 18ft yellow boat using a crane into the relatively calm ocean.