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The operation began after obtaining various information about possible irregularities in the fishing of bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean

Cepesca appears as plaintiff in case against illegal bluefin tuna network

Click on the flag for more information about Spain SPAIN
Monday, February 11, 2019, 19:00 (GMT + 9)

The Spanish Fishing Confederation (CEPESCA) has decided to appear as plaintiff in the case opened after the "Operation Tarantelo" of the Civil Guard, which has exposed a presumed plot dedicated to the illegal trade of bluefin tuna, with more than 79 detainees until now and the seizure of 80,000 kilos of this species. 

CEPESCA has taken this decision after submitting it to the approval of its Board of Directors and considering that the seriousness of the facts and the behaviors, of which it has had knowledge through the media, directly affect the fishing sector and, consequently, the foundational objectives of the association, among which are promoting the development of sustainable and responsible fisheries, as well as the fight against illegal fishing.

 Civil Guard and Europol staff were in charge of the investigation and subsequent seizure of merchandise and people arrest.

CEPESCA argues in its letter of apology, that, if facts appeared in the media are confirmed, such as the introduction into the market of illegal bluefin tuna, in poor condition, the use of additives and dyes to pass through other bluefin tuna and other tunids belonging to other species or the falsification of documents, directly attack, not only the interests of the Spanish fishing sector, but also the consumers themselves.

Likewise, CEPESCA considers that the fact that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has personally appeared as plaintiff in the case, is a clear indication of the seriousness of these events. The organization has used the legal services of Islaw Abogados.

Photo taken by the Civil Guard in a refrigerated warehouse where some illegal copies were found.

According to Javier Garat, Secretary General of CEPESCA, "with this purpose we want to objectively safeguard the interests of the Spanish fishing industry as a whole and show our strong rejection of allegedly irregular and fraudulent behavior that also affects the vast majority of the operators of this sector that carry out their activity with absolute honesty and scrupulously comply with the law."

Operation Tarantelo

According to the information available, Operation Tarantelo, still in the judicial investigation phase, has uncovered a network that allegedly introduced more than 3,500,000 kilos of illegal bluefin tuna, mainly from Malta, into Spain (2,500 tonnes a year) and Italy (1,000 tonnes of illegal bluefin tuna only in the first half of 2018), generating an annual global illicit profit of some EUR 25 million.

Although the commercialization activity of the companies investigated was centered in Spain, most of the samples came from other countries, except for a very low percentage of undeclared Spanish catches.

Click on the image to enlarge it

In particular, one of the roads originated in Malta, from where some pieces of legal origin were sent by air and in parallel, they entered by road from this country the largest volume of animals using the legal documentation of the first shipment to protect this trade illicit.

Another route of entry started in Italy using similar procedures except that, in this case, when proceeding with the production of illegal catches, it arrived in Spain by road without any documentation and traceability control.

Once in Spain, the distribution lines were unified to smaller companies in the sector, differentiating the legal pieces from the illegal ones according to the document that covered them, which entailed differentiated prices.

The transit of illegal fishing from Italy and Malta was through French ports.

Related article:

-Illegal bluefin tuna trade ring dismantled

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