Once their campaign against whalers in the Antarctic is complete, the Sea Shepherd will next focus on interrupting the illegal poaching of Bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean.
In a release last week, the organization announced plans to send both the MV Bob Barker and the MV Steve Irwin to intercept vessels in the region illegally harvesting the highly-valued fish. “We need to bring to the attention of the international public that one of the most unique fish species in the world, the Bluefin tuna, is on the brink of extinction due to the illegal fisheries driven by Japan’s insatiable demand for this expensive fish,” said Captain Paul Watson.
Two weeks ago a single Bluefin tuna sold to Japan fetched $177,000 (€125,230). As the fish becomes rarer, the prices paid for it will become higher. “This is the economics and politics of extinction,” the organization said, insisting that corruption, and the rising market value of the Bluefin was preventing any real conservation efforts.
Saying that violence in the Mediterranean could be higher than that in the Antarctic, Watson again reiterated his stance on putting his vessels in harm’s way. “We may lose a ship, but the loss of a ship is preferable to the loss of the Bluefin as a species. Ships are expendable, species are not.”