The launch of Operation Siracusa marks the fourth consecutive year in which Sea Shepherd volunteers engage in day and night patrols to help defend endangered dusky groupers and sea urchins in the Plemmirio Marine Reserve (Area Marina Protetta del Plemmirio) in Siracuse, Italy.
Patrolling day and night, black-clad volunteers have already helped local officials make arrests for illegal activities in the “A” zone, an area of the reserve completely off-limits to fishing activities.
Late in the night of May 16th, a few Sea Shepherd volunteers patrolling the shoreline spotted two individuals who were fishing in the general-protection “B” zone. They then spotted a small vessel. The owner, operating under the cover of darkness, was caught red-handed as he was setting a longline in the water within the “A” zone (a longline is a fishing tool which has hundreds and even thousands of hooks.)
The Siracusa Coast Guard and the Environmental Police were immediately informed, and the military personnel identified the poachers, confiscated all their gear, slapped a fine on them, and took the appropriate steps to file criminal charges. The Polizia Provinciale (Provincial Police) and the military personnel of the Guardia di Finanza (Finance Police) were also present.
“Operation Siracusa began with an extraordinary success. And it is thanks to the hard work that Sea Shepherd Italia's volunteers put in that the first few poachers were fined and reported. The Coast Guard responded promptly, and now these poachers shall be brought to justice concerning their actions,” said Peter Hammarstedt of Sea Shepherd Global, who joined Tuesday night's patrol.
Operation Siracusa is Sea Shepherd's first Italian campaign, which was planned and organized through a strong synergy with the family of the late diving legend and conservationist Enzo Maiorca. It is a part of Sea Shepherd's worldwide operations aiming at defending, conserving and protecting life in the oceans worldwide by fighting illegal actions anywhere they are perpetrated. Sea Shepherd has been practicing direct action around the world for the past 40 years.
Photos by Manfred Bortoli, Sea Shepherd Italia
For more information please visit our website: Sea Shepherd Global