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Sea Shepherd
Worldwide

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

Jun 24, 2016

Actor/filmmaker Ross McCall Debuts Documentary About Pilot Whale Slaughter in Faroe Islands

Actor and activist Ross McCall on board Sea Shepherd’s MV Bridgitte Bardot, at the Faroe Islands in 2015Actor and activist Ross McCall on board Sea Shepherd’s MV Bridgitte Bardot, at the Faroe Islands in 2015Scottish actor Ross McCall released his 22-minute documentary short on YouTube this week chronicling his experience in the Faroe Islands.

The actor was on board the MV Bridgitte Bardot last year for Sea Shepherd’s 2015 Pilot Whale Defense Campaign, Operation Sleppid Grindini.

Every year, the Danish Faroe Islands partake in what is known as The Grindadrap. Locals in boats drive pods of pilot whales and dolphins on to their beaches where they are brutally slaughtered with retractable spears.

The Faroese insist the slaughter is a cultural tradition and affectionately refer to it as The Grind. This practice has been going on for hundreds of years on the Faroe Islands, wiping out entire family groups of dolphins and whales at one time. The Grindadrap literally translates to “the murder of whales.”

Sea Shepherd has been working to shut down The Grind in the Faroe Islands since 1983. McCall – known for such TV work as “White Collar,” “24: Live Another Day” and “Band of Brothers” - first joined Sea Shepherd on a mission to the Faroes in 2014. He travelled back a year later, cameras in tow. The result is a powerful 22-minute film, “The Grind of the Faroe Islands.”

In an essay published in the Huffington Post this week, McCall wrote about his time in the Faroe Islands and debuted his film on the world-renowned blogging site through an embedded link.

“Rape and pillage was once a tradition. Slavery too,” McCall wrote in his Huffington Post article. “We woke up, saw the light, and don’t do that in civilized society anymore. My fore-fathers would steal sheep, steal sail boats, and I’m sure, commit horrendous crimes that were once accepted in historical society. Things that still live on the memory, but are no longer practiced. My point was, we all change and adapt with the times.”

61 pilot whales were slaughtered at the Sandavágur killing beach in the Danish Faroe Isles. Photo: Mayk Wendt61 pilot whales were slaughtered at the Sandavágur killing beach in the Danish Faroe Isles. Photo: Mayk WendtSince 1983, Sea Shepherd has sent ten campaigns to the Faroes, saving hundreds of whales and dolphins while dealing with the arrest of Sea Shepherd volunteers and the seizure of the organization’s boats.

Faroese law states it is illegal to interrupt the killing and illegal to sight a pod of whales and not report it. To further protect their beloved Grind from outside interference, this year the Faroese enacted laws that prohibit Sea Shepherd crew from entering their waters and wearing Sea Shepherd shirts on land.

This week, in response, Sea Shepherd Global announced Operation Bloody Fjords, a new operation targeting the massacre of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands.

With years of footage of this bloodshed, Operation Bloody Fjords will include culling together decades worth of photographic and video evidence to target the Grind in legal, political, commercial and economic arenas. A full-length documentary feature will also be produced.

“The Grind has no place in the 21st Century,” said Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson. “Slaughter and cruelty based culture and tradition should no longer be tolerated….The Grind is ecologically destructive and offensively barbaric and Sea Shepherd is relentlessly dedicated to tossing this obscene tradition into the dustbin of history through education, direct action, economic pressure and legal challenges.”

Operation Sleppid Grindini
Visit our
Operation Sleppid Grindini
site for more information.

Jun 14, 2016

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Launches Environmental Law Enforcement Manual in Ecuador

En espanol

ManualTo commemorate World Environment Day last week, the Galapagos office of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society released a Manual on Environmental Law Enforcement in Ecuador.

The manual was produced with Fiscalia General del Estado, Ecuador’s top law enforcement authority, charged with prosecuting environmental crimes nationwide.

The manual addresses the legal framework applied to environmental crimes and includes a section on law enforcement in the natural protected areas of Galapagos that emphasizes on the protection of marine wildlife, including sharks.

The book was written by Ecuadorian and foreign experts, including Hugo Echeverria and Mario Pena. It is designed as a practical tool for the use of judicial officers charged with law enforcement powers.

The manual was launched on May 30, 2016 in Quito and on May 31, 2016 in Galapagos. It received wide attention by local (Galapagos) and national media.

Environmental law enforcement has greatly improved in Galapagos. Last year, a landmark verdict — the first in 17 years — was issued against shark poaching in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. This year, wildlife smuggling has been hit hard with guilty verdicts issued in cases regarding iguanas and sea cucumbers. In these cases, the intent of smuggling was frustrated by authorities and sanctioned with imprisonment, to nationals and foreigners likewise.

The manual is a product of Sea Shepherd’s Galapagos legal project, in execution since 2010.

pdficon smallDownload the Manual (in Spanish) PDF

Galapagos announcementPhoto: Mario Pena
QuitoPhoto: Mario Pena
QuitoPhoto: Mario Pena

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Publica Manual Sobre Derecho Penal Ambiental en Galápagos

La semana pasada Sea Shepherd Conservation Society publicó un Manual sobre derecho penal ambiental. Esta obra fue producida en cooperación con la Fiscalía General del Ecuador y analiza los delitos ambientales tipificados en el Código Orgánico Integral Penal del Ecuador.

La obra compendia lo más sustancial de la normativa penal ambiental y dedica un apéndice a la aplicación de la ley en las áreas naturales protegidas de Galápagos, que incluye referencias al régimen especial que aplica en las islas, por razones de conservación de la biodiversidad. En este marco, se hace énfasis en la protección penal de las especies marinas protegidas, particularmente los tiburones.

El Manual fue redactado por expertos ecuatorianos y extranjeros, incluyendo a Hugo Echeverría y Mario Pena. El manual contiene una perspectiva teórico- práctica y está disenado como material de consulta de los operadores de justicia que aplican la ley ambiental en el país y, particularmente, en Galápagos donde la justicia penal ambiental ha venido aplicándose en pro de la protección de las especies silvestres: el ano pasado, se dictó la primera sentencia condenatoria por captura ilícita de tiburón; y, este ano se han dictado sentencias condenatorias contra nacionales y extranjeros, en casos relativos a iguanas y pepinos de mar.

La obra fue presentada el 30 de mayo en Quito y el 31 de mayo de 2016 en Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, en conmemoración al día internacional del ambiente.

Esta obra es producto del proyecto derecho penal ambiental que Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ejecuta en Galápagos, desde el ano 2010.

pdficon smallEn este enlace puede descargar el PDF del Manual

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Jun 08, 2016

Sea Shepherd Announces Operation Jairo II

baby sea turtle trying to make it to the seababy sea turtle trying to make it to the seaLOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 8, 2016: Today, on World Oceans Day, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is proud to announce its latest campaign to defend, conserve and protect our oceans.

The campaign, Operation Jairo II, will span three countries including the United States, Honduras and Costa Rica to protect endangered sea turtles. The launch comes on the heels of Sea Shepherd’s announcement of its first full-length feature film, Why Just One?, chronicling the organization’s successful 2015 Operation Jairo campaign.

The crowd-funded documentary Why Just One? raised its goal of $18,000 in one day to complete the production and has a star-studded list of names supporting it. Like its predecessor, Operation Jairo II is named after Jairo Mora Sandoval, a Costa Rican turtle defender who was brutally murdered on May 31, 2013 while attempting to protect leatherback turtle nests.

There are seven species of sea turtles in the world. Four have been identified as "endangered" or "critically endangered,” and two are classed as "vulnerable,” by the IUCN Red List of Endangered species. Sea turtles are some of the oldest living creatures, one of the few who’ve watched dinosaurs evolve and become extinct. They are now facing the same fate as their predecessors.

“This species which has survived so much, may not survive us,” commented Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is requesting donations to fund Operation Jairo II by asking fans to become monthly donors. To donate, visit http://my.seashepherd.org/DAC.

Baby sea turtles on their march to the sea

About Operation Jairo II

Operation Jairo II will launch in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on July 15 until September 1, with volunteers working to protect green, loggerhead, and leatherback sea turtles. Sea Shepherd will work with Sea Turtle Oversight Protection (S.T.O.P.) to protect sea turtle nests and guide hatchlings to the sea, away from the commercial lighting that disorients them.

The Honduras campaign will be held in Utila from August 1 to November 1, where Sea Shepherd volunteers will protect hawksbill, green, and loggerhead sea turtles. Partnering with Bay Island Conservation Association (B.I.C.A.), Sea Shepherd will protect nesting females and nests from poachers. The Honduran Navy will provide security for beach patrols.

From September 1 to December 1, Operation Jairo II will move to Costa Rica where ground campaign volunteers will work in Jaco to protect primarily olive ridley and green sea turtles. The Jaco police are teaming with Sea Shepherd volunteers to protect nesting females and nests from poachers. Nests will be relocated to a hatchery run by the Jaco police force.

Campaign volunteers will conduct weekly beach cleanups in all three locations.

Click here to volunteer for Operation Jairo II. Email the completed application to [email protected]

About Why Just One?

Why Just One? follows Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's 2015 sea turtle defense campaign, Operation Jairo. It focuses specifically on the sea turtle defenders’ successes and struggles of the ground campaign in Costa Rica. There, locals turn to poaching eggs and killing turtles for meat as income, often to serve the black market. Why Just One? aims to increase international awareness of what is happening in Costa Rica and influence the government to take a more active role in protecting these creatures before it’s too late.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society announced last week that Hollywood supporters, Richard Dean Anderson and Holly Marie Combs came aboard as executive producers and associate producers, respectively, on the documentary. Anderson is best known for his roles on MacGyver and Stargate CG-1. Combs is familiar to audiences for her work on Charmed and Pretty Little Liars.

Produced, directed and edited by Michael Colin, Why Just One? is scheduled for release in July, 2016. To support this film, please visit http://bit.ly/WhyJustOne.

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Sea turtle

Jun 02, 2016

Television Star Richard Dean Anderson to Executive Produce Sea Turtle Documentary Why Just One?

Actress Holly Marie Combs boards as Associate Producer of the first feature length film produced by Sea Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Premiering July 2016

baby turtles heading to the oceanSea Shepherd Conservation Society supporters Richard Dean Anderson and Holly Marie Combs are lending their names as producers on the company’s crowd-funded documentary feature Why Just One?

The documentary follows Sea Shepherd's 2015 sea turtle defense campaign, Operation Jairo, which took place in Honduras, Florida and Costa Rica. Why Just One? focuses specifically on the sea turtle defenders’ successes and struggles of the ground campaign in Costa Rica.

The Costa Rican campaign takes place on the remote Pacuare Island and Moin Beach, the latter where Costa Rican turtle defender Jairo Mora Sandoval was brutally murdered on May 31, 2013 while attempting to protect leatherback turtle nests. Sea Shepherd named Operation Jairo in his honor.

From death threats to attacks, from protecting sea turtles and their eggs, to interviews with Costa Rican activists and Sandoval's best friend, Why Just One? seeks to answer the question of why only one in one thousand sea turtles survive to maturity.

The documentary also looks to answer why sea turtles are disappearing from the beaches of Costa Rica – and can we save them in time?

“This species which has survived so much, may not survive us,” commented Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson.

Executive producer Anderson, a close friend of Watson who is best known to fans in the title role of the hit TV series MacGyver, says he hopes the film will bring world-wide attention to the “heart-breaking plight” of sea turtles.

“My support for Captain Paul Watson, and the hearty hordes of volunteers who make up the crews venturing out to sea, has exposed me to the kind of on-going education that continues to enlighten me, both head and heart,” said Anderson. “It is my hope, as Executive Producer, that this documentary will shed a bright light on a dire situation, and proceed to enlighten ALL of us to care about these endangered turtles, as well as ALL of our earths marine life.

Associate producer Combs, who came to prominence on the TV series Charmed and currently appears on Pretty Little Liars, added:

“I became a Sea Shepherd supporter a few years ago when I learned of their amazing work defending the oceans and her inhabitants. Sea Shepherd has shined an international spotlight on the slaughter of dolphins in Japan and the documentary Why Just One? will bring that same international spotlight on the poaching of sea turtles in Costa Rica. I look forward to many more years of working with the courageous and dedicated volunteers of Sea Shepherd.”

About the Film

Produced, directed and edited by Michael Colin, Why Just One? reached its initial funding on Indiegogo in less that 24 hours and has backers from over 40 counties. It is scheduled for release July, 2016. A stretch goal was announced and additional perks were added for a limited time only. To support this film and learn more, please visit http://bit.ly/WhyJustOne.

About Sea Turtles

There are seven species of sea turtles in the world. Four have been identified as "endangered" or "critically endangered,” and two are classed as "vulnerable,” by the IUCN Red List of Endangered species. Sea turtles are some of the oldest living creatures, one of the few who’ve watched dinosaurs evolve and become extinct. They are now facing the same fate as their predecessors.

Turtle Poaching/Operation Jairo

On the island of Pacuare there are scarce ways to make a living. Many turn to poaching eggs and killing turtles for meat as income. There is a black-market demand for decorative tortoiseshell while the consumption of turtle meat and eggs is considered a delicacy by some. Turtle slaughter and egg poaching remain relatively unexposed and Costa Rica is often portrayed as an eco-touristic safe haven for animals. Operation Jairo’s aims to increase international awareness of what is happening in Costa Rica and influence the government to take a more active role in protecting these creatures before it’s too late.

For more information about Operation Jairo and facts about sea turtles, visit the Sea Shepherd web page: http://www.seashepherd.org/jairo

sea turtle

May 19, 2016

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Promotes Environmental Law in Galapagos

En español

Booklet CoverLast week was an important one at the Galapagos office of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Two activities of the legal project were executed: The presentation of a booklet on penal environmental legislation, and the organization of an introductory course on environmental law.

Legal Booklet

The legal booklet compiles the legal framework applied to environmental crimes in Galapagos. It includes a recently adopted by-law that complements the Penal Code in the application of environmental crimes against marine wildlife. It was launched on May 10th, in Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island) and on May 11th, in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristobal Island).

The legal booklet was produced with the Direction of the Galapagos National Park, to inform enforcement officers and the community about recently adopted rules that consolidate penal protection to all marine species in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. These rules integrate legal inputs provided by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, specifically on sharks.

Local media informed about this initiative, highlighting its relevance to law enforcement in Galapagos.

Course on Environmental Law

Course CoverThe introductory course on environmental law was directed to law students of Galapagos, as well as public officers of State agencies with jurisdiction on conservation matters. The 16 hour-course was held in Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island) on May 12, 13 and 14, 2016, and focused on environmental law enforcement and constitutional foundations of environmental law.

The course was organized with the Galapagos Governing Council and was instructed by two legal experts: Oscar Cortez Casierra and Ricardo Crespo Plaza.

Hugo Echeverria of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, lead the organization of both activities and said that it was the outcome of hard work in favor of Galapagos: ¨Both activities were welcome by the community and authorities, which reflects the growing recognition of the importance of environmental law in Galapagos¨.

Local media also informed about this initiative, highlighting its importance to build local environmental leadership.

The Galápagos legal project (Proyecto derecho penal ambiental y conservación en Galápagos) is on its sixth year of operation; time in which it has consolidated as a pioneering and solid initiative on cooperation to improve environmental law enforcement.

Booklet Presentation in Santa Cruz

Attendants to the Course

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Promueve El Derecho Ambiental En Galápagos

Booklet CoverLa semana pasada fue importante para la oficina de Galápagos Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Dos actividades del proyecto derecho penal ambiental llegaron a su punto culminante con la presentación de una publicación sobre legislación ambiental y la organización de un curso introductorio al derecho penal.

Folleto Coip

El folleto COIP es una publicación que compila la normativa penal ambiental aplicable en las áreas naturales protegidas de Galápagos; particularmente una norma técnica de aplicación de los delitos ambientales tipificados en el Código Orgánico Integral Penal, que abarca delitos contra las especies marinas protegidas. Fue presentado el 10 de mayo en Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz; y, el 11 de mayo en Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Isla San Cristóbal, ante representantes de varias instituciones públicas de la provincia.

El folleto COIP fue producido junto con la Dirección del Parque Nacional Galápagos, con el objetivo de difundir la normativa ambiental recientemente expedida, que consolida la protección penal de todas las especies marinas dentro de la Reserva Marina de Galápagos, a la que Sea Shepherd Conservation Society aportó con criterios jurídicos sobre los tiburones.

La prensa insular informó acerca de esta iniciativa, resaltando su importancia para la aplicación del derecho ambiental en Galápagos.

Curso Introductorio Al Derecho Ambiental

Course CoverEl curso introductorio al derecho ambiental fue dirigido a estudiantes de derecho de la provincia de Galápagos y, también, a servidores públicos de instituciones con competencias en temas de conservación de la provincia. El curso tuvo una duración de 16 horas y se realizó en Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz, los días 12, 13 y 14 de mayo de 2016. El curso abordó los fundamentos constitucionales del derecho ambiental y se concentró en temas relativos a la aplicación de la ley ambiental en Galápagos.

El curso introductorio se organizó junto con el Consejo de Gobierno del Régimen Especial para la Provincia de Galápagos y fue impartido por dos expertos en la materia: Óscar Cortez Casierra y Ricardo Crespo Plaza.

Hugo Echeverría, de Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, lideró la organización de estos eventos y señaló que son el fruto de un arduo trabajo en pro de la conservación en Galápagos. ¨Ambas actividades tuvieron gran acogida de la comunidad y autoridades, lo que refleja el progresivo reconocimiento de la importancia del tema, en el ámbito insular¨.

Los medios de información también informaron esta actividad, resaltando su importancia para la formación de líderes de la comunidad.

El proyecto derecho penal ambiental y conservación en Galápagos va por su sexto año de ejecución, tiempo en el que se ha consolidado como una pionera iniciativa de cooperación en la materia, en Galápagos.

All photos: Hugo Echeverria - Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

May 10, 2016

Sea Shepherd Hosts Free Ship Tours in Los Angeles May 14 and 15

Farley MowatFarley MowatAfter wrapping up a three-month operation (Milagro II) in the Gulf of California, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s M/V Farley Mowat will be docking at Marina del Rey this week in California. The conservation organization will host free ship tours all weekend, aboard the M/V Farley Mowat which start on May 14 and 15 for the general public from 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Sea Shepherd is the leading direct-action marine conservation non-profit and star of the former hit Animal Planet TV series, Whale Wars. Operation Milagro II is a campaign to fight the looming extinction of the vaquita porpoise, world’s most endangered marine mammal. With an estimate of less than 100 surviving vaquita, Sea Shepherd ships, the R/V Martin Sheen and M/V Farley Mowat patrolled the northernmost part of the Gulf of California in Mexico to locate and remove illegal fishing gear that entangle and drown the vaquita.

  • Event address: Burton Chase Park, 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey, 90292
  • Parking information: There is metered parking on the entry grounds of Burton W. Chace Park which has a maximum limit of 90 minutes. There are three large LA County parking lots on Mindanao Way towards the entrance to Burton W. Chace Park and all of those lots provide parking for a flat fee as posted, with no daily time limit. These official parking facilities are marked as LA County Parking Lots #4, #5, and #77.
  • Date and Time: May 14 - 15 at 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Sea Shepherd’s Los Angeles Ship Tour

The general public is invited to tour the M/V Farley Mowat on May 14 and 15th from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. In addition to the ship tour, Sea Shepherd crew will share information about the organization’s work to defend ocean wildlife and habitats worldwide, along with their first-hand experiences as crewmembers. Sea Shepherd will also accept much-needed donations to fund the organization’s wildlife missions.

About the M/V Farley Mowat

Farley Mowat crew. Photo: Carolina A CastroFarley Mowat crew. Photo: Carolina A CastroThe M/V Farley Mowat is a 110-foot former Coast Guard Cutter, purchased from the U.S. government in 2015. Sea Shepherd supporter John Paul DeJoria—co-founder of professional salon beauty products John Paul Mitchell Systems—generously sponsored the purchase of the M/V Farley Mowat. The purchase was done in conjunction with a bequest left to Sea Shepherd by Sea Shepherd International Chair and famed Canadian writer and environmentalist Farley Mowat, who passed away in 2014.

DeJoria, who supports charities that promote environmental sustainability, social responsibility and the protection of animals, made it possible for the Farley Mowat to be outfitted as a high speed anti-poaching patrol boat. The vessel was recently working with the Martin Sheen on Milagro II in Mexico. The vessel will now move to Costa Rica to continue anti-poaching work at Cocos Island. The Farley Mowat recently saved the life of a Humpback whale, found entangled in a gillnet in the Gulf of California.

About Milagro II

In February 2015, Sea Shepherd launched Operation Milagro with its R/V Martin Sheen to investigate the plight of the vaquita porpoise and identify ways to intervene and protect the animals. The R/V Martin Sheen remained in the Gulf of California until May 2015, documenting the use of gillnets—nets that indiscriminately catch any animal that swims into them—as well as building relationships with marine biologists and other non-governmental organizations. In April 2015, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced a two-year ban on the use of all gillnets in the northern Gulf of California. Shortly thereafter, Sea Shepherd documented the first live vaquita since 2013 and began building a partnership with the Mexican government to protect the vaquita.

In November 2015, Sea Shepherd launched Milagro II and dispatched the R/V Martin Sheen and its M/V Farley Mowat to remove illegal gillnets and longlines set to catch the totoaba, a fish similar in size to the vaquita. The totoaba are another critically endangered species targeted by poachers specifically to sell their swim bladders on the black markets in Hong Kong and China. Dubbed “aquatic cocaine,” totoaba swim bladders can sell for more than $20,000 per kilogram in China as a status symbol and for their alleged medicinal properties. Many of the bladders are smuggled through the United States.

In addition to removing illegal fishing gear, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society used aerial drones to document and report poaching activities to the Mexican authorities.

During the course of Operation Milagro II, Sea Shepherd removed 42 illegal gillnets and 16 longlines. The campaign saved one humpback whale, seven totoaba, fifty-five rays, dozens of sharks, and countless other marine animals that otherwise would have been caught. Unfortunately, the illegal fishing gear claimed the lives of three vaquitas, dozens of sharks, a four-meter long great white shark, as well as many totoabas, rays, and dolphins.

Sea Shepherd plans to return to the Gulf of California in November, 2016 to continue the fight against illegal fishing and to expand efforts to protect the vaquita. The use of gillnets and longlines has been devastating to the biological diversity of the Gulf of California, often considered one of the most biologically diverse marine areas in the world.

Fans unable to attend the ship tours in LA, can still help in many ways. Click below for details.

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Crew of the Martin Sheen. Photo: Carolina A CastroCrew of the Martin Sheen. Photo: Carolina A Castro
Captain Oona Layolle. Photo: Carolina A CastroCaptain Oona Layolle. Photo: Carolina A Castro
Operation Milagro II
Visit our
Operation Milagro II
site for more information.

May 05, 2016

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Announces Sea Turtle Defense Documentary “Why Just One?”

Newly hatched Olive Ridley making a run for the ocean. Photo: Matthew Karsten, expertvagabond.comNewly hatched Olive Ridley making a run for the ocean. Photo: Matthew Karsten, expertvagabond.comSea Shepherd Conservation Society announced the release of its first feature-length, in-house documentary, titled Why Just One?. The documentary addresses the dramatic decline in sea turtles and the organization’s efforts to defend them.

Today's announcement corresponds with the launching of an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to finish post-production on its groundbreaking new documentary. Scheduled for release in the summer 2016, this documentary will change the way people see sea turtles and those who risk their lives to defend the turtles.

Join Sea Shepherd volunteers on the sandy shores of Costa Rica. There is a war taking place between poachers and conservationists. The conflict is over the most ancient of creatures, one that witnessed the extinction of the dinosaurs and the dawn of humankind: sea turtles. In the documentary, Sea Shepherd defends the same beach where 26-year-old Jairo Mora Sandoval was murdered in 2013 while protecting sea turtles. The Sea Shepherd crew endures attacks and brave treacherous conditions to follow in Jairo’s footsteps. They tackle a vexing paradox: trying to prevent the poaching of sea turtle eggs in Costa Rica when the activity is legal in one beach town, Ostional, on the country’s Pacific coast. This legal loophole fuels and enables egg poaching throughout in Costa Rica.

In Why Just One?, Sea Shepherd explores the widely accepted statistic that just one in one thousand sea turtle hatchlings survive to maturity. Experts, conservationists, government representatives and poachers are interviewed, including one of Jairo Mora Sandoval's closest friends. This is a story of courage, action and hope that good will prevail before it’s too late. Why Just One? will move people emotionally – and move them to take action for the turtles.

Crew protecting nesting leatherback turtle at night: Photo: Sea ShepherdCrew protecting nesting leatherback turtle at night: Photo: Sea Shepherd

“On May 31, 2015, we launched Operation Jairo to defend sea turtles in Costa Rica, Honduras, and Florida,” stated Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founder Captain Paul Watson. “We named the campaign after Jairo Mora Sandoval to honor his memory and continue his work to defend turtles. Without patrolling the beaches, we cannot tackle the problems of poaching turtles and their eggs. And without tackling the problems of poaching, we cannot save turtles from extinction.”

Last year, Sea Shepherd's Operation Jairo saved more than 12,000 sea turtles and eggs in its campaign to protect the ancient mariners in Costa Rica, Honduras and Florida. By patrolling the beaches at night, Sea Shepherd volunteers were able to stop poaching in Costa Rica and Honduras. In Florida, volunteers ensured that turtle hatchlings made their way into the ocean without being disoriented by bright lights.

“This documentary highlights what we are doing for the turtles, what we can do for turtles, and what we must do for the turtles. Jairo made the greatest sacrifice known to humans to defend turtles.” continued Captain Watson.

Join us in making this important documentary by backing the film here: http://bit.ly/1OfvER6

May 04, 2016

Fight For the Vaquita Reaches U.S. Shores

Farley Mowat and Martin Sheen during Operation Milagro II. Photo: Carolina A CastroFarley Mowat and Martin Sheen during Operation Milagro II. Photo: Carolina A CastroOn May 3rd, 2016, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society concluded Operation Milagro II, its campaign to fight the looming extinction of the vaquita porpoise, the most endangered marine mammal in the world. With an estimate of less than 100 surviving vaquita, Sea Shepherd ships the R/V Martin Sheen and M/V Farley Mowat patrolled the northernmost part of the Gulf of California, Mexico to locate and remove illegal fishing gear that entangle and drown the vaquita.

The two Sea Shepherd ships will be returning to the United States of America, arriving in San Diego, CA and holding a press conference at 1492 N Harbor Dr., San Diego, CA 92101 (north of the San Diego Maritime Museum) on Saturday, May 7 at 8am. Free tours of the ships will be available on May 7 and 8 from 10am-5pm.

In February 2015, Sea Shepherd launched Operation Milagro to investigate the plight of the vaquita porpoise and identify ways to intervene and protect the animals. The R/V Martin Sheen remained in the Gulf of California until May 2015, documenting the use of gillnets - nets that indiscriminately catch any animal that swims into them - as well as building relationships with marine biologists and other non-governmental organizations. In April 2015, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced a two year ban on the use of all gillnets in the northern Gulf of California. Shortly thereafter, Sea Shepherd documented the first live vaquita since 2013 and began building a partnership with the Mexican government to protect the vaquita.

In November 2015, Sea Shepherd launched Operation Milagro II. Sea Shepherd dispatched the R/V Martin Sheen and the M/V Farley Mowat to remove illegal gillnets and longlines set to catch the totoaba, a fish similar in size to the vaquita. The totoaba are another critically endangered species targeted by poachers specifically to sell their swim bladders on the black markets in Hong Kong and China. Dubbed “aquatic cocaine”, totoaba swim bladders can sell for more than $20,000 per kilogram in China as a status symbol and for their alleged medicinal properties. Many of the bladders are smuggled through the United States.

In addition to removing illegal fishing gear, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society used aerial drones to document and report poaching activities to the Mexican authorities.

"It was amazing to spot three live vaquita during the course of Operation Milagro II. It gives me such hope that the vaquita can survive if appropriate measures continue to be taken," stated Captain Oona Layolle, Campaign Leader. "We developed net retrieval devices that were so effective that we provided some to the Mexican Navy so that they too could seek out and remove these nets from deeper waters."

During the course of Operation Milagro II, Sea Shepherd removed 42 illegal gillnets and 16 longlines. The campaign saved one humpback whale, seven totoaba, fifty-five rays, dozens of sharks, and countless other marine animals that otherwise would have been caught. Unfortunately, the illegal fishing gear claimed the lives of three vaquitas, dozens of sharks, a four meter long great white shark, as well as many totoabas, rays, and dolphins.

"The partnership with the Mexican Government was productive and certainly made an impact in saving the lives of so many marine animals. We look forward to working more with the Mexican Government in the Gulf of California and other parts of Mexico," continued Captain Layolle.

Sea Shepherd plans to return to the Gulf of California in November 2016 to continue the fight against illegal fishing and to expand our efforts to protect the vaquita. The use of gillnets and longlines has been devastating to the biological diversity of the Gulf of California, often considered one of the most biologically diverse marine areas in the world.

Video in Spanish https://youtu.be/xTkgKh07qyg