The European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said that the malpractices reported in the Spanish media in connection to illegal tuna trade leading to the dismissal of the Maltese Director General for Fisheries yesterday “cannot be tolerated”. He also said that they are “in breach of EU and international rules.”
Vella, speaking on behalf of the Commission, strongly condemned “the infringements and malpractices” reported by the Spanish Civil Protection Department following ‘Operation Tarantelo’. The reported illegal tuna trade run by Jose Fuentes Garcia is suspected to go up to €25 million worth of Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, of which his Grupo Fuentes is the world’s largest seller.
The Commissioner spoke of the Commission contacting all relevant national authorities, as well as other actors such as Europol “to follow up on the ongoing Tarantelo investigation”. Vella finally offered any assistance that the relevant authorities may require.
Yesterday, the Fisheries Director General Andreina Fenech Farrugia was indefinitely suspended after allegations of taking money as part of Spanish illegal tuna trade. She was reported by Spanish media as having directly contacted Fuentes demanding money. A Magisterial Inquiry is also underway being led by Magistrate Gabriella Vella.