UPDATE: June 23, 2010.
The police are investigating the clashes which Maltese fishermen had with protesters from Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd. Home Affairs Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici said in Parliament.
A protester was injured in the Greenpeace clash and needed hospital treatment. Two Maltese fishermen were taken to hospital after the clash with Sea Shepherd.
The Fisheries Control Section of the Malta Resources Ministry explained in a statement today that tuna catches were tightly monitored. They are in line with the regulations of the International Commission for the Control of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT). Prior to tuna being placed in Maltese catch pens it must be properly documented and the documentation is verified by the Maltese Authorities. In addition independent observers monitor the trawlers during the catch itself. The FCS went on to say that the Sea Shepherds is not a regulatory authority and therefore has no right to take the law into its own hands on the basis of suspicions. The procedure already in place is to report those suspicions to ICCAT, the EU or any national authority who then carry out an inspection of catch and documentation. There are ICCAT and EU military vessels on fishery protection duty patrols.
The Federation of Aquaculture said the Sea Shepherds were trying to justify the illegal action of the Netherlands flag state pirate vessel MS Steve Irwin ramming the cage which had fishermen working on it at the time and whom it injured. Paul Watson's previous claim of contacting ICCAT is untrue because Libya is a contracting party at ICCAT and therefore bound by the same rules which bind EU and other contracting parties. Contrary to further SS-PG statements military vessels flying the flags of a number of EU nations had entered into Libyan fishing zone on fishery protection duties of control and inspection.
The Owners and fishermen are filing claim against the Sea Shepherds. Therefore SS-PG will be forced to provide the Court of Malta with substantial irrevocable proof that the tuna in the cage were caught illegally. In the event that the SS-PG are unable to do so they will pay damages and be imprisoned under the laws of Malta and the EU.