Scuffles broke out this morning as Greenpeace prosters tried to board a fishing boat in Grand Harbour during a protest against unsustainable fishing.

The incident happened at about 10 a.m. when activists from several countries blocked access to the boats soon after they arrived from Libyan waters.

The activists said access was blocked after the captains refused to tell them what fish they had on board. Greenpeace suspected they were carrying tuna.

The fishermen retaliated by showering the protesters with water.

The protest was held by activists from the UK, Australia, the US and Lebanon. One of the Americans said that when he tried to get on board one of the boats, he was punched, pulled by the hair and thrown overboard. Further scuffles broke out as another Greenpeace member tried to board a boat.

Greenpeace said its activists were attacked when they attempted to carry out "a peaceful inspection" of the Spanish fishing vessel, Cabo Tinoso Dos. Greenpeace called on local authorities to carry out an official inspection of the vessel. Policemen and Fisheries Department officials later went on the boat.

NO ILLEGAL TUNA FOUND

The Fisheries Department in a statement in the afternoon said that the boats had not been carrying any illegal tuna. The department said it was improving its administrative capacity through the engagement of more inspectors and over the past few days it acted to ensure that the national tuna quota was respected.

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