Despite the current conflict and the break in diplomatic relations between France and Libya, the city of Sète and its tourist heart continue to represent Libya, as always without problem, the regime of the famous colonel. Ten tuna fishing boats proudly claiming their homeport and their administrative and financial connections with Tripoli adorn the streets and terraces of the cafés. The riverboats in Sète departing the old city’s bridge leave to the right a part of the Libyan fleet while declaiming through a megaphone, “Since forever the tuna fishing boats of Sète fish for bluefin tuna exclusively in the Mediterranean.”
There is a bit of truth there. The tradition survives despite the threat that looms on the bluefin tuna. For nine years the ship owners of Sète with the endorsement and support of the Maritime Affairs and the Ministry of Transport transferred, under the Libyan flag, several of their tuna fishing boats and assigned their properties to the affiliated companies to the wealthy in the then friendly regime, recently reviled by the French Republic. A cut of 100 grams of bluefin tuna sells at the best markets for around 25 dollars; Bluefin tuna is the oil of the sea.
March 2nd 2011, Robin des Bois asked the French government to stop this scandal representative of misuse of convenience flags. In this particular case, the French fishermen share the profits of bluefin tuna fisheries with the Libyan regime throughout a vast sea area that stretched 1,900 km and extended 100 km outwards by waving a magic and illegal wand; this was put in place ten years ago.
The Libyan delegate for the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) just wrote to the president of this commission: “Because of the recent and exceptional circumstances and also to avoid all future complications that could affect the capacity to conform to ICCAT, Libya voluntarily decided to suspend the implementation of their bluefin tuna fishing plan for 2011 and will not authorize any activity of bluefin tuna fishing.” Mr. Hussin A. Zaroug’s message finishes with consensus, “Pray together to save Libya, the Libyans, and the bluefin tuna.”
Meanwhile, Robin des Bois continues to demand the seizure of tuna fishing boats flying the Libyan flag and officially renouncing the French government through this arrangement that allows French fishermen to exploit the bluefin tuna through an allegiance to the Libyan regime in place.