Operation Siso Achieves 70% Reduction in Illegal Fishing in Calabrian Waters

Friday, 27 Oct, 2023

Illegal longline fishing in the Tyrrhenian Sea off Calabria's coast has significantly decreased by 70% this summer thanks to the dedicated joint efforts of Sea Shepherd and Italy's Guardia di Finanza.

Sea Shepherd Italy's Andrea Morello with the Italian Coast Guard. Photo by Sea Shepherd Global.

Throughout the summer, Sea Shepherd crew onboard the Sea Eagle worked tirelessly day and night, in cooperation with Italian authorities as part of Operation SISO 6, to patrol the Tyrrhenian Sea in Calabria, Italy. As a result, there was a notable 70% decline in illegal fishing activities compared to the same period last year.

Sea Eagle crew with retrieved illegal and abandoned fishing gear. Photo by Sea Shepherd Global.

The sixth campaign of Operation SISO has made significant progress this year. Joint operations resulted in the removal of 30 kilometers of mainlines and 2,000 hooks, which posed threats to marine life. Authorized by Guardia di Finanza’s Comando Navale di Vibo Valentia, Sea Shepherd’s crew were able to identify and dismantle all unmarked and abandoned fishing gear encountered on patrols. Any fishing gear without proper identification is automatically categorized as Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported (IUU) fishing. In June, the Sea Eagle crew assisted the Italian Coast Guard vessel Gregoretti, in the confiscation of two illegal nets in the Gulf of Sapri. Tragically, the first net, discovered early in the morning, contained the entangled remains of several marine creatures, including a swordfish. The second net was so entangled that it was transported to Vibo Valentia for safe disposal.

Sea Shepherd’s persistent efforts over the years have helped marine wildlife populations recover in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Videos showcasing sperm whales, dolphins, swordfish, and especially the critically endangered Bluefin Tuna, have flooded social media platforms. Emphasizing the tuna's plight, it's worth noting that the Bluefin Tuna had entered the IUCN list as being at high risk of extinction with only 10% of its previous population remaining.

Operation Siso wouldn’t be possible without the valuable financial contributions of Allianz. Throughout the summer, Sea Shepherd has patrolled the Italian seas with two fully-crewed vessels (the Sea Eagle and the Conran) and an onshore crew of nearly 150 volunteers from 20 countries, covering almost 3,000 nautical miles day and night. These operations provided crucial support to Italian authorities in their fight against poaching.

In conclusion, Sea Shepherd’s partnerships in in Italy stand as a testament to what can be achieved in marine conservation with collective dedication, ensuring the continued protection of our invaluable marine ecosystems.

Learn more about Operation Siso

Sea Shepherd Italy's Andrea Morello with the Italian Coast Guard. Photo by Sea Shepherd Global.
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