Operation Siracusa: Sea urchin poachers stopped and fined in Marine Protected Area
Friday, Mar 22, 2019
Sea Shepherd volunteers spotted two poachers illegally fishing for sea urchins inside the Plemmirio Marine Protected Area in Italy this week. They immediately alerted the Coast Guard and the Environmental Police, who seized the fishing equipment and fined the poachers. Unfortunately the sea urchins were already killed and put into little cups, ready to be sold illegally.
This is the sixth year for Sea Shepherd’s Operation Siracusa, a campaign to protect the fragile ecosystem of the Plemmirio Marine Protected Area in Syracuse, Italy. Sea Shepherd volunteers conduct patrols throughout the day and night to prevent the fishing and illegal trade of protected species such as sea urchins and the brown grouper.
"When we launched Operation Siracusa five years ago, I could see the people there giving up about not being able to do anything to stop illegal fishing activities and their -- equally illegal – profit,” said Andrea Morello, President of Sea Shepherd Italia. “Today that resignation has turned into determination to fight for the respect of the law, and now has become direct action to protect the future through the preservation of the sea. Local authorities work together with Sea Shepherd volunteers coming from all over Europe to organize day and night patrols. They donate their time, passion and their motivation, working together with the authorities and the Marine Protected Area, to protect our clients: the wildlife that inhabit the waters of Plemmirio. Some have called it the Sea Shepherd Effect: taking action to make a difference. It’s the effect that brought me to spend many enthusiastic nights this winter, during the Christmas holidays, on the rocks along the coast with volunteers who came from many different countries to defend our sea. We helped stop numerous illegal fishing attempts, making it one of the best Christmas holidays for the Shepherds of the Sea. Passion makes a difference.”
"This year," Andrea Morello concludes, "we will be on land on an ongoing basis thanks to the greater number of volunteers and people who have chosen to support us, inspired by the words of our founder, Captain Paul Watson: what really makes the difference is not the governments’ action; it’s not the various organizations; it’s the passion of single individuals.
Operation Siracusa is the first campaign in Italy strongly supported and organized in collaboration with the family of the late diver Enzo Maiorca, and is one of the many direct action campaigns of Sea Shepherd, whose mission is to Defend, Conserve and Protect life in seas around the world, fighting illegalities wherever they are perpetrated. This is the kind of direct action that Sea Shepherd has been implementing for forty years all over the world.”