Tag Archives: driftnets

Activist Group Black Fish Using Drones to Defend the Ocean from Driftnets

26 Aug

by Alex Chitty / Vice

The Black Fish’s founder Wietse van der Werf. Photo by Chris Grodotzki.

The Black Fish’s founder Wietse van der Werf. Photo by Chris Grodotzki.

On a warm night in July 2012, off the island of Ugljan in the Croatian Adriatic, two activists slipped into the water near a line of huge fish farms. Security boats patrolled the perimeter of the vast circular nets, as guards stationed on a nearby hill kept watch through the night. And for good reason: the thousands of bluefin tuna in the farms, destined for the tables of Japanese sushi restaurants, are worth millions. Individual fish routinely sell for more than $1,500 at wholesale markets in Tokyo and closer to home. The Croatian tuna had been caught as juveniles under a loophole in international law, and were being “fattened up” before heading to market.

Wearing tactical diving gear, the divers arrived at the first net, slicing three-quarters of its length and sending bluefin streaming out. The divers swam to another net, repeating the process, and then headed home. The security teams circling above were none the wiser until the following day. The activists, from a group known as the Black Fish, were long gone. The raid was similar to a previous attack in September 2010, when Black Fish divers freed dolphins from holding pens near Taiji, Japan.

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