The Illegal Driftnet Fishery Exposed

earthOCEAN post the third program of the five-part online documentary series - "Whales of an Ancient Sea" entitled "Fishy Business - The Illegal Driftnet Fishery". Despite a world-wide ban by the United Nations in 1992 and by the European Union in 2002, the driftnet fishery continues illegally throughout the Mediterranean Sea. Driftnets are banned because they take large quantities of unwanted catch, called bycatch, putting populations of migratory fish, sea turtles and cetaceans at risk.

We interview Xavier Pastor of Oceana, a global marine conservation organization. He leads a team of scientists, photographers, and videographers who are systematically documenting the use of illegal driftnets throughout the Mediterranean. With over 500 driftnet vessels operating illegally in the region, researchers and conservation groups are concerned that marine species are being pushed to the edge. In this episode, we investigate the fishery and examine why it still occurs today.

"Whales of the Mediterranean Sea" ventures into deep seas and coastal waters with a range of international scientists. It examines the ecology of cetaceans, while exploring the causes of increasing pressures on their populations and habitats. The greatest challenge of all is raising awareness, as most people do not even know there are whales in the Mediterranean Sea.

WHALE TRACKERS is a series of documentary programs combining the collective wisdom of scientists and conservationists with a remarkable range of expertise and perspectives. It uncovers the latest science techniques being used to study whales, dolphins and porpoises, while inspiring and encouraging young people to want to learn more about the oceans. It examines the threats that individual species face, and focuses on the people who are making a difference to preserve the animals, by connecting their fate to the health of their respective habitats.