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New Stock Photos & Video: Mediterranean Fishing – Greece, 2020

May 28, 2021Animals Used for Food, Aquatic Life, News

After suffocating on the deck during the sorting process, a worker onboard the fishing boat Fasilis, shovels by-catch back into the sea.

Photographer: Selene Magnolia
Videographer: Francesco Ceccarelli
Author: We Animals Media
In Collaboration With: Essere Animali

To view more images and video from this collection, visit our Mediterranean Fishing gallery.
We Animals Media contributor Selene Magnolia and the Italian non-profit Essere Animali have teamed up to document the suffering of fish raised for food consumption in the Mediterranean fishing industry.
The images and video captured during the investigation expose poor living conditions and inhumane slaughter, capture and processing endured by fish on fishing vessels, fish farms, processing plants, and markets.

With a focus on gilt-head sea bream and European sea bass, Greece is known worldwide for its extensive aquaculture and commercial fishing industries. In 2019 Greece supplied 59% of the sea bream and sea bass sold in the European Union and 22% sold worldwide, according to the Federation of Greek Mariculture’s 2020 report.

Workers onboard the fishing boat Fasilis sort the catch by type, dividing it between fish with commercial value and useless by-catch. Greece, 2020. Selene Magnolia / We Animals Media
Workers onboard the fishing boat Fasilis sort the catch by type, dividing it between fish with commercial value and useless by-catch.
Deck crew pulls nets filled with sardines onboard the purse seine fishing boat Pandelis II. Greece, 2020. Selene Magnolia / We Animals Media
Deck crew pulls nets filled with sardines onboard the purse seine fishing boat Pandelis II.

“Fish are invisible. Their suffering cannot be heard, their slaughter is silent. We need to realise the magnitude of fish that we are taking from the sea everyday, of the damage to our ecosystems, of the unsustainability of fish farming, of the chain of production that affects both nature and humans so badly. We need to finally connect with their suffering.” — Selene Magnolia, animal photojournalist

Greek commercial fishing uses two methods: purse seine and trawler nets, with each vessel removing approximately three to seven tonnes of fish from the sea per day. Onboard the fishing vessels, nets are emptied on the deck where the fish are left to slowly suffocate. The trawling method is indiscriminate and commercial fisheries drop several tonnes of undesirable dead fish back into the sea as bycatch.
Workers onboard the fishing boat Fasilis sort the catch by type, dividing it between fish with commercial value and useless by-catch. Greece, 2020. Selene Magnolia / We Animals Media
Workers onboard the fishing boat Fasilis sort the catch by type, dividing it between fish with commercial value and useless by-catch.
On fish farms, hundreds of thousands of fish are forced inside underwater cages where they can spend up to two years. Mortality rates are high. The overcrowded conditions cause chronic stress for fish and create the perfect breeding ground for disease that can spread to both farmed and wild fish populations.
Our photojournalists witnessed the cruel and painful slaughter of fish on farms. These visuals document sea bass and sea bream captured and crammed into nets, where they are exposed to air and crushed by the weight of other caught fish. Once out of the water, they are thrown, still alive and fully conscious, into containers filled with water and ice. They do not lose consciousness immediately and can suffer for many dozens of minutes before suffocating to death. Although this method of slaughter violates the World Organisation for Animal Health’s (OIE) international standards, it is still the method most commonly used to kill farmed sea bass and sea bream in Greece, Italy and Spain, as stated by the European Commission.
Detail of fish in the trawler nets onboard the fishing boat Fasilis. Greece, 2020. Selene Magnolia / We Animals Media
Detail of fish in the trawler nets onboard the fishing boat Fasilis.
Detail of fish that have been emptied from nets onto the deck of the fishing boat Fasilis. Greece, 2020. Selene Magnolia / We Animals Media
Workers onboard the fishing boat Fasilis sort the catch by type, dividing it between fish with commercial value and useless by-catch.
Intensive aquaculture production also threatens marine health. These systems damage coastal sea and bay ecosystems by discharging significant pollutants, leading to algal blooms and dead zones and contaminating the surrounding marine environment. Moreover, aquaculture is putting increased pressure on wild fish populations, which are caught by the millions only to feed farmed fish.
 

 
For more information about this investigation, including how you can take action, visit Essere Animali’s website

To view more images and video from this collection, visit our Mediterranean Fishing gallery.

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