At 0920 hours one of the fishing vessels radioed the French Navy and claimed that Sea Shepherd was attacking them and cutting their nets. This was absolutely not true.

Angry fisherman shows metal link before hurling it at the Delta. Photo: Libby MillerAngry fisherman shows metal link before hurling it at the Delta. Photo: Libby MillerAt 0925 hours the Tunisian seiner Tapus came close alongside the Steve Irwin and the crew began to hurl stones and steel chain links at the Sea Shepherd crew on deck.  The Sea Shepherd crew immediately responded with bottles of rotten butter that they smashed onto the decks of the seiner to force them to back off.

The Sea Shepherd Delta inflatable attempted to inspect the tuna cage but was attacked by two small boats throwing chunks of metal at the Sea Shepherd crew.

At 0940 hours a French naval jet flew over numerous times to document the situation.

At 1130 hours the seven seiners were joined by another seiner. All the vessels are flying a Tunisian flag. The vessels appealed to the French Navy for protection.

Sea Shepherd is remaining with these vessels until an ICCAT inspector can found to communicate with.  The regulations require these vessels to have an ICCAT inspector onboard.  We have not had any response to our request to speak with an ICCAT inspector to determine the legality of this operation.

Tuna Battle off the Barbary Coast

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Video credit: Sea Shepherd (2:06)

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Blue Rage 2011