Two Italian fishing boats were seized yesterday by Libyan patrol boats in the Gulf of Sirte and are being held in the port of Misurata. The boats are the second and third Italian fishing boats to be seized over the past two weeks. The seizures indicate the interim Libyan government is maintaining the Ghaddafi government’s territorial claims to the Gulf of Sirte (and that Libya has some functioning patrol boats). The territorial claims have resulted in numerous incidents and seizures of non-Libyan fishing boats over the years, including the incident in September 2010 when a Libyan patrol boat with an Italian official observer on board fired on an Italian fishing boat. The waters near Libya are a major spawning ground for the endangered bluefin tuna and fishing vessels from EU countries have apparently taken advantage of the situation in Libya this year to engage in extensive illegal fishing activities.
Click here for article regarding illegal fishing. (EN)