ABOARD THE STEVE IRWIN (AP) — A shipload of conservation activists is cruising 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the Libyan coast looking for boats illegally fishing for bluefin tuna. Five NATO warships are visible on the horizon.
Overnight, the Steve Irwin, owned by the U.S.-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, approached to within 21 miles (34 kilometers) of Libya. But because of the arms embargo it is enforcing, NATO told the Irwin to stay at least 30 miles (48 kilometers) offshore. A sister ship, the smaller, faster Brigitte Bardot, will scout ahead Monday for tuna boats.
Experts say the stock of bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean is in danger of collapse. The activists want to identify illegal fishing boats and send divers into the water to cut the nets and free the fish.
Tuna bring high prices on the Japanese market.