79 arrested over illegal blue fin tuna trade

The Spanish authorities have arrested 79 people involved in an extensive operation of illegal blue fish tuna trade, fished in Italy and Malta. The arrests come following a joint effort between the French, Italian, Maltese, Spanish and Portuguese authorities on the illegal fishing of blue fin tuna.

The Spanish Guardia Civil observed a number of irregularities occurring in tuna fishing in the Mediterranean. According to the various reports the tuna was fished in Maltese and Italian territorial waters, then it was trafficked to Spain through French ports.

The inspections on the ships failed to identify blue fin tuna caught on board the ships. However according to what it was being reported, the authorities also found illegal fishing happening in Spanish territorial waters with the catch being stored away in false bottoms. This led to a number of cases of poisoning due to the way in which the fish was kept until it was delivered to Spain. According to the reports, the illegal catches entered the EU market through Malta and generated an annual profit of €12 million.