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Sea Shepherd

Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. Our mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.

Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately-balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations.

Sea Shepherd is not verified as a 501(c)3 organization.

Latest News

Oct 14, 2016

Sea Shepherd announces matching gift challenge to save the vaquita porpoise

Dear Friends,

Photo: Omar VidalPhoto: Omar VidalBecause of you, thousands of endangered and threatened whales, dolphins, porpoises, sea turtles, sharks and other marine mammals have been saved. So much more needs to be done… and we are doing it thanks to your help. Today we are able to match your gift up to $20,000, thanks to a generous matching gift challenge from the Tomchin Family Foundation. We urgently need your support to take on a huge challenge.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is heading back to Mexico's Gulf of California to save the world's most endangered marine mammal, the vaquita porpoise, which has been driven to the brink of extinction by illegal fishing operations. During last year's Operation Milagro II campaign, our Sea Shepherd crew members were able to save one humpback whale, seven totoaba bass, fifty-five rays, dozens of sharks and countless numbers of other marine mammals that were entangled in illegal gill nets. We removed 42 illegal gill nets from the Gulf of California which also extended the lives of countless marine species, including the vaquita.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is heading back to Mexico's Gulf of California to save the world's most endangered marine mammal, the vaquita porpoise, which has been driven to the brink of extinction by illegal fishing operations. During last year's Operation Milagro II campaign, our Sea Shepherd crew members were able to save one humpback whale, seven totoaba bass, fifty-five rays, dozens of sharks and countless numbers of other marine mammals that were entangled in illegal gill nets. We removed 42 illegal gill nets from the Gulf of California which also extended the lives of countless marine species, including the vaquita.

The Sea of Cortez in Mexico's Gulf of California is home to the vaquita. The imperiled species is especially vulnerable to population decline for several reasons:

  1. The vaquita has a slower rate of reproduction than other porpoises
  2. Comparatively short lifespan of about 20 years
  3. There are believed to be few reproductive females remaining

But I have hope. The sea lions in the Sea of Cortez, the right whale around New Zealand and the California Condor are a few examples of species that have been brought to the brink of extinction and bounced back with the right intervention. Your meaningful support provides our crew members with vital equipment and resources to protect the vaquita and other marine species. This year we will even employ a third ship to help on this vital campaign.

We must raise $500,000 to launch Operation Milagro III. For a third year in a row, the Tomchin Family Foundation has issued a matching gift challenge for Sea Shepherd supporters! Donate today and the foundation will match your gift dollar for dollar, up to $20,000. Any gift would be of tremendous help and please make sure to take advantage of this generous matching gift challenge.

For the oceans,

Paul Watson

Captain Paul Watson
Founder and Director
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Operation Milagro II
Visit our
Operation Milagro III
site for more information.

Farley Mowat and Martin SheenFarley Mowat and Martin Sheen

Les Stroud and crew with gillnetLes Stroud and crew with gillnet

whale caught in gillnetwhale caught in gillnet

crew members pull netcrew members pull net

Dead Vaquita porpoiseDead Vaquita porpoise

Milagro II campaign photos: Carolina A. Castro

Sep 09, 2016

Sea Shepherd Crew’s Life Threatened by Mexican ‘Cartels’ in The Gulf of California

Campaign leader targeted while on operation to save the endangered totoaba bass

M/V Farley MowatM/V Farley MowatA crew member aboard the Sea Shepherd vessel M/V Farley Mowat received anonymous death threats this week while on campaign in the Sea of Cortez.

The Mowat is currently in Mexico’s Gulf of California for Operation Angel de la Guarda, a campaign to protect the imperiled totoaba bass.

The vessel was patrolling the south part of the sea, near Isla Angel de la Guarda (aka Guardian Angel Island), a section that is notorious for drug and totoaba trafficking.

Totoaba is hunted by poachers solely for its swim bladder, which is sold on the black market in China in excess of $20,000 per kilo. Due to its high street value, the totoaba bladder is frequently referred to as “aquatic cocaine.”

On September 7, while the Mowat had returned to the northern area to refuel, campaign leader JP Geoffroy – a native of Chile – reported that he received a phone call at approximately 7 p.m. warning him not to let the boat travel back south.

“They knew my name, my mother’s and daughter’s names, what I looked like, a home address in Chile…” said Geoffroy. “They knew the boat’s name, its movements and said if we go back south my daughter and I will be dead.”

Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson said he is not taking the threat lightly.

“Sea Shepherd takes threats of violence very seriously, especially in high risk areas, but we will not be deterred by them. What we do is dangerous, we know it’s dangerous, but the stakes are too high to back down in the face of threats from criminals attempting to endanger the lives and the survival of our clients in the sea.”

“When we receive threats, it simply corroborates the fact that our campaigns are successful,” said COO David Hance. “While we will take steps to protect our crew, we will not run away. Threats will never deter us from our mission of protecting the oceans and the animals that live in them.

We Are the Cartel

According to Geoffroy, the callers did not ask for money. Their only demand was that the Mowat not return to the southern area of the Sea of Cortez.

“They said, ‘We are the Cartel,’” although they did not specify which cartel, Geoffroy recalled.

The threat was reported to Mexican authorities and additional security measures are now being taken by Sea Shepherd, in light of the incident.

“This is not going to stop our work in the south,” said Geoffroy of the threat. “Our job is to be here to retrieve illegal nets and work with the Mexican authorities to prevent the extinction of species such as totoaba, along with other animals at risk.”

Fortunately, since the launch of Operation Angel de la Guarda last month, no totoaba were found trapped in the nets removed by Sea Shepherd. However, the crew recently found the body of a sea lion that perished when it was caught in those illegal gillnets.

When Sea Shepherd arrived at the scene, a male sea lion swam nearby, refusing to leave the floating corpse. He watched as Sea Shepherd worked to cut the carcass from the nets and properly dispose of it.

Gillnets are banned in Mexico, although they continue to be used illegally. View Sea Shepherd’s video (below) about what it takes for the crew to locate, retrieve and dispose of illegal gillnets in the Gulf of California.

Aug 25, 2016

Sea Shepherd CEO and Founder Paul Watson Back in the U.S. After Two Year Absence

The star of the ‘Whale Wars’ television series will make his first public appearance at Vermont Comic Con on Saturday, August 27.

Captain Paul Watson during the 2009-10 Antarctica CampaignSea Shepherd Conservation Society has announced that Captain Paul Watson has recently entered the U.S. safely, despite two Red Notices issued against him by Japan and Costa Rica.

Captain Watson had been living in exile in France under the protection of the French government for the past two years. He is wanted by Costa Rica where he is accused of intervening to stop a Costa Rican shipping vessel, the Varadero I, that was illegally finning sharks in Guatemalan waters in 2002.

After obtaining permission from Guatemalan authorities to bring the vessel in for breaking the law, Captain Watson attempted to arrest the vessel, but the poachers broke free and fled toward Costa Rica.

Later that month the Costa Rican authorities filed a criminal complaint alleging that Captain Watson and his crew threatened and attempted to murder the seven crew members of the Varadero I, as well as damaging their vessel. This complaint was based on testimony supplied by the Varadero I crew. A local foundation offered Captain Watson counsel, yet neither he nor his appointed counsel were provided timely notification about a preliminary hearing on the matter in December 2002.

Sea Shepherd filmed the entire incident that occurred at sea, while the Varadero did not provide any documentation.

Although the allegations of attempted murder were later dropped when the court viewed Sea Shepherd’s footage, new charges were added. However, Captain Watson was never informed of this development or given a summons to appear.

When Captain Watson did not appear for trial, the Costa Rican court declared him a “rebel” and issued a warrant for his arrest on the charge of “violation of ship traffic.” This charge came a decade after the incident!

Arrest in Germany

The matter escalated on May 13, 2012, when German authorities detained Captain Watson in Frankfurt. Six weeks later, Costa Rica submitted a modified extradition request alleging “shipwreck endangerment and aerial disaster,” a far more serious offense typically associated with terrorism.

Two days after that, Japanese authorities formally requested Captain Watson’s arrest on conspiracy charges stemming from a 2010 incident involving Sea Shepherd’s campaign to stop Japan’s illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean. In August 2012, Interpol issued a Red Notice on Watson for the Costa Rican charge of “shipwreck endangerment.”

Captain Watson fled Germany after some 70 days of house arrest for fear of being recaptured and extradited to Japan. He was also concerned that if sent to Costa Rica, his life would be in danger because the shark finners had spread the word that there was a $25,000 bounty on his head.

After Captain Watson left Germany, Interpol issued a "Red Notice" alert for the activist’s detection.

Captain Watson is a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen. When he was arrested on the Japanese warrant in 2012 in Germany, officials seized his American and Canadian passports, eventually returning them to the two countries. The United States gave Captain Watson his American passport back and told him it has no plans to arrest or deport him based on the Japanese warrant. However, Canadian officials, under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government, refused to return Captain Watson's Canadian passport.

That same year, Captain Watson stepped down voluntarily from his duties as captain of the SS Steve Irwin and president of Sea Shepherd U.S.A.

France granted Captain Watson asylum, shielding him from extradition requests by Costa Rica and Japan on charges that are politically motivated.

Life in France; Return to U.S.

While living in France over the last two years, Captain Watson married his girlfriend, the Russian-born opera singer Yanina Rusinovich. The couple are expecting a baby boy in October.

This past spring, Captain Watson returned as President of Board of Directors and Executive Director of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society USA.

In June, with a newly elected Trudeau government in Canada, Captain Watson finally got his Canadian passport back with help from Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May. May signed on as Captain Watson’s guarantor on the passport application.

Since his recent arrival to the U.S., Captain Watson and his wife have been residing in Vermont.

Captain Watson will be making his first public appearance on Saturday, August 27 at Vermont Comic Con. The event will take place at 3:30 p.m. in the Sheraton Amphitheater of the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center (870 Williston Rd, Burlington, VT).

Sea Shepherd will also have a booth on hand in the Emerald Ballroom, E-21.

Aug 13, 2016

Specialized Training for Galapagos K9 Unit Officers

En español

Foto de grupo capacitacion primer grupo 1Photo: UPMA

Last week, officers of the Environmental Protection Unit of the Ecuadorian Police (UPMA) attended a course on environmental law, with a focus on Galapagos issues.

The course has held at UPMA headquarters, in Quito.

UPMA is the agency in charge of the Galapagos K9 Unit that currently hosts eight Police Officers trained as guides of the four wildlife-sniffing dogs. The dogs were provided in 2015 by SSCS, to cooperate with the Police in the fight against wildlife crime.

The three-day course covered all aspects of environmental law enforcement. Special attention was put to flagrant situations, that is, when somebody gets cut while committing an environmental crime. In these situations, Police officers act immediately, securing the place and evidence, as well as detaining the suspects within a very narrow time-frame. All this can be complicated when addressing environmental infractions occurring out in the sea, or in remote areas.

Attendants to the course provided with real-life experiences, which helped identify better ways to deal with environmental crime, especially in cases of wildlife crime. These included the detention of a suspect in a sea cucumber case occurring earlier this year in Galapagos.

The course also focused on the application of international treaties, such as CITES, in environmental law enforcement. This is something SSCS focused in Galapagos for the past six years, through its legal project. Attendants learned about the law and science protecting endangered species.

The course was provided by SSCS K9 Unit project (Maintenance of dog’s detectors of shark fins, sea cucumbers, sea lion penises and wildlife). It is part of a formal agreement signed with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ecuador in 2014. While the training program was originally designed to 08 Police officers acting as guides of the dogs in Galapagos, SSCS and UPMA decided to extend it to 120 Police officers, in case any of them are eventually transferred to the Galapagos Islands and also to provide capacity building to this important group of officers on environmental law. Three courses of an approximately 40 officers, are now planned. The first one took place the first week of August, with a total of 42 Police officers in attendance. Two representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs also attended. The second course is planned to be held by the end of August and the third in September 2016.

Malena García, SSCS project coordinator highlighted the importance of this course to the important work that K9 Unit does in Galapagos. She hopes that this knowledge will be applied in territory to prevent trafficking of wildlife species.

Text from UPMA commander:

Preserve nature today is of vital importance, especially in a mega-diverse country such as Ecuador, why it has framed our Constitution the rights of nature to protect and preserve the length and breadth of the National territory.

Day after day the staff of the Environmental Protection Unit of the Ecuadorian Police (UPMA) works hard to ensure that these rights are respected and enforced, preventing that wildlife species disappear.

The work of UPMA has been strengthened by the support of national and international organizations such as Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, with their knowledge and training, it has given us technical support to advance every day at work to preserve the environment.

Christian Salazar Flores
Environmental Protection Unit of the Ecuadorian Police

Underwater sea lion and turtlePhoto: Sea Shepherd

Two affectionate sea lionsPhoto: Sea Shepherd

Curious sea lion watches iquanaPhoto: Sea Shepherd

Iquana and crab. Photo: Sea ShepherdPhoto: Sea Shepherd

SharkPhoto: Nicolás Vera

En español

Capacitación Especializada Para Oficiales de la Primera Unidad Canina En Vida Silvestre de Galápagos

La semana pasada, el personal de la Unidad de Protección del Medio Ambiente de la Policía Nacional del Ecuador (UMPA) recibió una capacitación en derecho ambiental, con énfasis en temas relativos a Galápagos.

La capacitación tuvo lugar en el Comando de la UPMA, ubicado en la ciudad de Quito, Ecuador.

UPMA es la unidad policial a cargo de la Unidad Canina especializada en vida silvestre que, actualmente, alberga a ocho Policías capacitados para guiar a los cuatro canes detectores de vida silvestre que fueron provistos por SSCS en el año 2015, para cooperar con la autoridad en la lucha contra el delito ambiental.

La capacitación, que duró tres días, abordó todos los aspectos del derecho penal ambiental y se enfatizó las situaciones de flagrancia, esto es, cuando alguien es descubierto en la comisión de un delito ambiental. En estas situaciones, la Policía debe actuar inmediatamente, asegurando el lugar y la evidencia, así como aprehendiendo a los sospechosos y poniéndoles a órdenes de las autoridades judiciales. Todo esto debe realizarse dentro un plazo corto de tiempo, lo cual puede ser complejo si los hechos ocurren en alta mar o en áreas remotas.

Los Policías que asistieron a la capacitación compartieron experiencias de la vida real, las que ayudaron para identificar las mejores estrategias para tomar procedimientos en materia ambiental, especialmente en asuntos relativos al delito contra la vida silvestre. Estas experiencias incluyeron un reciente caso sobre pepino de mar en Galápagos.

La capacitación también enfatizó la importancia de la aplicación de tratados internacionales, especialmente CITES. Esto es algo que SSCS ha promovido desde hace seis años, a través del proyecto Derecho Penal Ambiental y Conservación en Galápagos. Sobre el tema, los Policías conocieron los aspectos jurídicos y científicos relativos a las especies silvestres amenazadas.

La capacitación es una actividad del Proyecto Manutención de canes detectores de aletas de tiburón, pepinos de mar, penes de lobos marinos y vida silvestre de SSCS, que está planificada dentro de un convenio de cooperación suscrito con el Ministerio del Interior en el año 2014. La actividad estuvo originalmente planificada para ocho Policías que operan como guías caninos. No obstante, se resolvió con UPMA extenderla a 120 Policías considerando que varios de ellos pudieran, eventualmente, ser transferidos a Galápagos en el futuro. También se consideró la importancia de que este importante grupo de Policías reciban una capacitación en derecho ambiental. En tal virtud, se acordó la organización de tres cursos de capacitación. El primero tuvo lugar la primera semana de agosto y contó con la asistencia de 42 Policías y dos representantes del Ministerio del Interior. El segundo se realizará la última semana de agosto y el tercero en el mes de septiembre de 2016.

Malena García Díaz, coordinadora de proyectos de la oficina de Galápagos de SSCS resaltó la importancia de la capacitación para la Unidad Canina de Vida Silvestre en Galápagos. Ella espera que los conocimientos aprendidos sean aplicados en territorio para prevenir el delito contra la vida silvestre.

Text De / from UPMA commander:

Preservar la naturaleza hoy en día es de vital importancia, sobre todo en un país mega-diverso como es Ecuador, razón por la cual se ha enmarcado en nuestra Constitución los derechos de la naturaleza para protegerla y preservarla a lo largo y ancho de todo el territorio nacional.

Día tras día el personal de la Unidad de Protección de Medio Ambiente de la Policía Nacional, trabaja arduamente para garantizar que dichos derechos se respeten y se cumplan, evitando que nuestra flora y fauna silvestre desaparezca.

Trabajo que se ha visto fortalecido gracias al apoyo de organismos nacionales e internacionales como Sea Shepherd Conservation Society en Ecuador, que con sus conocimientos y capacitación, nos brinda apoyo técnico para avanzar cada día en el trabajo de conservar el ambiente.

Mayor. Christian Salazar Flores
Comandante (Acc.)
Unidad de Protección del Medio Ambiente
Policía Nacional del Ecuador

Aug 04, 2016

Sea Shepherd Launches Campaign to Save the Protected Totoaba Bass in Mexico

Operation Angel De La Guarda kicks off in Gulf of California

Operation Guardian AngelSea Shepherd Conservation Society launches Operation Angel de la Guarda, a campaign to protect the imperiled totoaba bass in Mexico’s Gulf of California.

The campaign, which begins today, is a collaboration between Sea Shepherd and the Mexican government.

Sea Shepherd’s anti-poaching vessel the M/V Farley Mowat is partnering with the Mexican Navy and environmental protection agency PROFEPA to patrol against totoaba poaching. The conservation organization will also work to remove illegal gillnets used in trapping the fish.

The M/V Farley Mowat is expected to stay in the area through summer and autumn.

The totoaba is a rare fish native to the Gulf which can measure up to 6 feet in length and weigh as much as 220 lbs. Fishing for totoaba has been banned by the Mexican government since 1975, but it continues to be hunted by poachers solely for its swim bladder, which is sold on the black market in China in excess of $20,000 per kilo.

Due to its high street value, the totoaba bladder is frequently referred to as “aquatic cocaine.” These bladders are considered a delicacy in China, and often added to stews or soups. They are also sought for unsubstantiated medicinal properties.

Additionally, totoaba are being caught in illegal fishing gear – gillnets whose use is banned by the Mexican government. Once the bladder is removed from the fish, the totoaba is considered to be of no other use and it is wastefully discarded.

These nets also trap other species in the northern Sea of Cortez including sharks, whales, rays and the near-extinct vaquita porpoise.

Angel de la Guarda is an off-shoot from Sea Shepherd’s successful Operation Milagro campaigns in the Sea of Cortez to save the endangered vaquita. At this time of year, however, the totoaba migrate out of the vaquita habitat, poachers in tow.

With Angel de la Guarda, the totoaba now has its own campaign dedicated to stopping poachers from driving it to extinction for its swim bladder.

“We won’t give a break to the poachers,” said Director of Ship Operations, Captain Oona Layolle. “We will be tracking them and their activity. We hope to cut off the supply of ‘aquatic cocaine’ at the source.”

The campaign name, which translates to “Guardian Angel,” represents what Sea Shepherd aims to be for this endangered fish. It is also a nod to a nearby island in the Sea of Cortez, Isla Angel de la Guarda, also known as Archangel Island.

The Farley Mowat will patrol this area, remove illegal nets and assist the government in locating and tracking poachers.

Added Sea Shepherd founder, Captain Paul Watson: "Sea Shepherd is determined to do everything we can with the resources available to us to work in cooperation with the Mexican Navy to save both the endangered vaquita and the endangered totoaba fish. We will dedicate our ships and volunteers to ensuring that these two species do not become extinct on our watch.”

Aug 02, 2016

Sea Shepherd Captain Returns to the Faroe Islands to demand Landmark Trial Court Date

Crew of MV Spitfire on Operation Grindstop 2014Crew of MV Spitfire on Operation Grindstop 2014. Photo: Sea ShepherdOn Friday July 29th, Sea Shepherd Captain Jessie Treverton from the UK successfully passed through border security and re-entered the Danish Faroe Islands’ capital of Tórshavn for the first time since her arrest in 2014 to demand her court trial and the return of the seized Sea Shepherd vessel MV Spitfire.

This action comes after the Faroese prosecutor failed to set a court date after almost two years since the arrest of Captain Treverton on September 17th, 2014 for successfully guiding a pod of white-sided dolphins away from the killing bays of the Faroe Islands as part of Sea Shepherd Global’s campaign Operation Grindstop. After steering a large pod of dolphins to safety the Danish Navy chased, boarded and seized the British registered vessel MV Spitfire and arrested its three European crewmembers (Jessie Treverton of the UK, Celine Le Diouron and Marion Selighini of France), subsequently charging them with ‘failure to report sightings of dolphins to the authorities’ under the newly introduced ‘Grind Law’ and ‘harassing dolphins’ in an unprecedented interpretation of Faroese animal welfare legislation.

“Apparently in the Faroe Islands it is perfectly legal to drive and kill a protected EU cetacean species, but it is illegal to push them back out to sea in order to keep them from harm’s way because that is considered ‘harassment.’ So these three Sea Shepherd women can proudly say that they successfully ‘harassed’ the dolphins for the purpose of saving their lives.” said Sea Shepherd Founder Captain Paul Watson in response to the arrest in 2014.

Faroese Intentionally Postponed the Trial to Prevent a Landmark Court Ruling

Originally scheduled for September 2014, Captain Treverton’s court case has been postponed numerous times. On the 7th October 2014 a Danish Court hearing in the Faroe Islands ruled the seizure of the MV Spitfire was illegal and the boat was ordered returned to Sea Shepherd U.K. However, the Faroese prosecutor immediately appealed the court's decision and Spitfire has been held ever since with no further trial date set.

Sea Shepherd Captain walks into Torshavn police station with Faroese media in attendance

At 11:00 hrs local time Captain Treverton walked through Torshavn to the main police station with a gathering of Faroese journalists and photographers waiting outside the entrance. She talked to the police officers inside and finally emerged victorious with a new court summons for the 24th of November 2016 and the right to stay in the Faroe Islands and freely walk the streets of Torshavn in her Sea Shepherd logo clothing.

Any Trial Outcome is a ‘Win’ for Operation Bloody Fjords

Capt Jessie Treverton at Hvannasund 30th July 2016Capt Jessie Treverton at Hvannasund 30th July 2016. Photo: Sea ShepherdWhile indefinitely stalling a trial, the Faroese prosecutor ensured the Sea Shepherd boats remained impounded and the ‘Grind’ continues without any interference by activists. Sea Shepherd’s Faroese legal team representing Captain Treverton believes that the lengthy postponement is intentional because any such trial will have a ‘landmark’ impact on the archipelago’s traditional drive hunt and slaughter of pilot whales and other dolphins.

Faroese lawyer Jógvan Páll Lassen, who has defended Sea Shepherd on several occasions in the Faroese courts, was quoted today by a Faroese journalist as saying; ”the question of the dolphins, which Sea Shepherd were driving away outside of Hoyviksholm, has never come to the courts. The case is drawn out, since several different people must first give their accounts. As I see it, the prosecution is busy finding proof that it is animal cruelty to drive a pod of dolphins away from a Faroese fjord. Then it’ll be interesting to learn what they think about [the Faroese] driving pilot whales ‘into’ a Faroese fjord.”

“I’m looking forward for my case to be heard in court, to highlight the ridiculous hypocrisy of the grind laws,” said Captain Treverton on arrival in Torshavn on Friday. “If I am found guilty of ‘stressing’ dolphins, the dolphin hunters can also be charged with that same offence. If I am found innocent, any person will be free to direct dolphins away from the islands to safety. Either way, it is a win for the oceans.”

Rob Read, Chief Operations Officer of Sea Shepherd UK, is also being summoned in regards to Sea Shepherd UK’s boat MV Spitfire.

“For almost two years this case has been deliberately stalled by the Faroese prosecutor Linda Hesselberg who has victimised Sea Shepherd volunteers and illegally seized Sea Shepherd boats, holding them at undeclared locations in the Faroe Islands with little or no maintenance and a refusal to allow Sea Shepherd to inspect them,” says Read.

One of those boats is the Echo, which was used to disturb the grindadráp at Sandavagur in 2015 then seized by the Danish navy ship HDMS Knud Rasmussen in the Shetland Islands just minutes before Sea Shepherd’s legal team had a Bill of Suspension signed by the High Court in Edinburgh to prevent its removal to the Faroe Islands.

The latest Faroese ‘Grind’ on July 26th saw a pod of approximately 200 long finned pilot whales driven by 25 Faroese boats for two hours before 135 were eventually beached and killed on the rocky shoreline at Hvannasund in the second and largest slaughter of 2016.

17th Sept 2014 Danish Navy pursue MV Spitfire off Torshavn17th Sept 2014 Danish Navy pursue MV Spitfire off Torshavn. Photo: Sea Shepherd

Aug 02, 2016

Sea Shepherd Legal Enlists Public’s Help to Save the Imperiled Guiana Dolphin

Boto couple and babyBoto couple and babyOn the eve of the 2016 Rio Olympics, Sea Shepherd Legal launches a worldwide online petition to compel the government of Brazil to protect the last remaining Guiana dolphins in Rio de Janeiro before they go extinct.

The Guiana dolphin looks similar to the bottlenose dolphin but smaller. More inconspicuous than its counterparts, these cetaceans prefer to live in small groups of about two to 10 individuals.

Since 2003, Rio’s Guiana dolphin numbers have dropped by 40%. Nearly 10 Guiana dolphins are killed every month in fishing nets in the Bay of Sepetiba, in Rio. Today, there are less than 800 remaining and the Guiana dolphin may become extinct in just a few short years.

Additional threats include commercial illegal fishing, pollution, depletion of prey and habitat, ship traffic, port development and other coastal impacts.

Sign the petition

“What we are fighting for here is to ensure that the Guiana dolphin doesn’t go the way of Mexico’s vaquita porpoise – a species moments away from extinction due to some of the same threats,” explained Sea Shepherd Legal’s Executive Director, Catherine Pruett. Scientists recently concluded that just 60 vaquita are left.

“With the spotlight on Rio for the summer Olympics, this represents a real opportunity for the government of Brazil to show the world that it is in tune with public sentiment and that it cares about wildlife, specifically the Guiana dolphin,” Pruett said.

Rio flag coat of armsIronically, the flag of the city of Rio de Janeiro is an image of its coat of arms, supported by two dolphins. This flag was adopted in 1908. Now, 118 years later, Rio’s Guiana dolphin is desperate need of its own support.

The petition is addressed to the following responsible government agencies: the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources, Instituto Estadual do State Institute of the Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, Federal Police – Ministry of Justice, Rio de Janeiro Port Authority, and Itacuruçá Port Authority.

This is part of a collaborative effort between Sea Shepherd Legal, two local NGOs and Brazil’s Federal Prosecutors office, which is working diligently to save the Guiana dolphin by pressing these agencies to take action.

About Sea Shepherd Legal

Sea Shepherd Legal is an international, nonprofit, public interest environmental law firm with a mission to save marine wildlife and habitats by enforcing, strengthening, and developing protective laws, treaties, policies, and practices worldwide. Sea Shepherd Legal works on a range of matters from ensuring proper governmental agency action to developing innovative policy approaches to encourage greater protections for marine wildlife and ecosystems.

Sea Shepherd Legal
Visit the
Sea Shepherd Legal
site for more information.

Jul 27, 2016

Sea Shepherd prepares legal proceedings against Denmark as Blood is Spilled Again on the Shores of the Faroe Islands

More blood has been shed on the shores of the Danish Faroe Islands in the second grindadráp (grind) of the year, in the same village where 43 pilot whales were slaughtered just three weeks ago.

At approximately 4pm yesterday, a pod of up to 200 pilot whales was spotted by locals on the island of Viðoy, before being pursued by 25 boats for over two hours to Hvannasund beach where 120 of the whales were killed. Hvannasund is one of 23 “approved killing beaches” in the Faroe Islands, where it is permitted for locals to slaughter pilot whales and dolphins.

“Pilot whaling is illegal. It is illegal in Europe, it’s illegal in Denmark, therefore it is illegal in the Faroe Islands. Denmark claims it is for the Faroe Islands to decide whether or not to stop whaling, but this is not true.” said Liesbeth Zegveld, attorney for Sea Shepherd. “The Faroe Islands are Danish territory, and Faroe citizens are Danish citizens. The Faroe Islands are not a federal state within Denmark. They only have a self-governing status allowed by Danish legislation that can be repealed and amended by Denmark.”

“We are currently in the process of establishing legal proceedings to take the Kingdom of Denmark to the European Commission and Danish courts.” Said Operation Bloody Fjords Campaign Leader and director of Sea Shepherd Netherlands, Geert Vons. “The Faroe Islands cannot enforce their laws protecting the practice of slaughtering pilot whales without the active support and force of the Danish police and military. It is blood that links Denmark and the Faroe Islands.”

Sea Shepherd has led the opposition to the grindadráp since 1983. The 2016 pilot whale defense campaign, Operation Bloody Fjords, sees Sea Shepherd take its battle against the grindadráp to the heart of the Faroese and Danish institutions that continue to promote this outdated practice.