On just the second day of Operation Siracusa, Sea Shepherd Global’s campaign to stop illegal fishing in Italy’s Plemmirio Marine Reserve off the coast of Syracuse, Sea Shepherd volunteers have caught their first poachers.
During the night of Tuesday May 20th, one of the groups conducting patrols inside the Protected Marine Area of the Parco del Plemmirio, spotted a boat in the location known as “Area B”. Two people seen onboard this boat were recovering an illegally set fishing line approximately 10 meters from the shore.
Sea Shepherd volunteers documented the incident and promptly alerted the authorities. Photographs of both the fishing boat’s registration number and the alleged poachers have been sent to local authorities, who are now investigating the incident.
The aim of Operation Siracusa is to protect the fragile ecosystem of the Parco del Plemmirio. Sea Shepherd’s crew will defend this marine reserve and its inhabitants from exploitation through the documentation and reporting of poaching activities. Among the most endangered species living in the reserve are the sea urchin and the dusky grouper; the latter is listed as being at high risk of extinction on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Sea Shepherd’s presence in this area has drawn the public eye to the illegal fishing activities threatening even protected marine reserves, endangered wildlife, and the balance of the oceans as a whole, a marine wildlife heritage to defend and preserve for future generations.
Sea Shepherd’s direct intervention sends a clear, strong message to poachers operating illegally in the Plemmirio Marine Reserve — that they are being watched and that enforcement action will be taken against them.