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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

Jul 16, 2014

Are you Listening, Rex Tillerson?

Commentary By Roger Payne

Dr. Iain Kerr and Dr. Roger Payne observe one of the oil wells in the areaDr. Iain Kerr and Dr. Roger Payne observe
one of the oil wells in the area
Photo: Sea Shepherd
This evening we had a celebration over the fact that we got our 50th biopsy today. The goal from the start has been to get a minimum of 50 biopsies, and with two more trips to go, we anticipate that we’ll be well over that mark. We celebrated with a key lime pie made by Marc Rosenberg, our cook. It was all delicious, the pie, the sunset, the sense of accomplishment, the breeze, the billowy evening clouds. The celebration took place as we headed for our annual visit to the site of the Deepwater Horizon—the drilling platform where 11 people died during the 2010 BP oil blowout.

When we reached the spot, there was nothing to see. When we visited last year, there was a production platform moored above it, with other platforms in the middle distance. This year, absolutely nothing, just empty ocean for miles in all directions. As Iain pointed out, here we were, afloat on a beautiful, calm sea enjoying key lime pie—a scene of peace and tranquility—yet beneath us lay a titanic tangle of scorched and twisted metal, which if we could see, would look like the wreck of the Hindenberg. Crisscrossing the bottom to the horizon and beyond was a vast grid of pipes collecting oil from wellheads. But out of sight is out of mind—the very thing the oil companies count on. It is what they are counting on when they spray dispersants on the oil with the full knowledge that they are not solving the problem of how to get rid of it, they are just solving the problem of how to get it out of public view, and thereby out of public concern.

Tonight, Iain called me up from my cabin to have a look at the oil platforms around us from the bridge. Some were 24 miles away (we confirmed the distance with the radar), but from the chart it was clear that they were all in water more than 6,000 feet deep. They were below the horizon but we could see where they were from the glow they made above it. Ten were visible from our position. It is clear that the oil companies are drilling in water just as deep as the Deepwater Horizon well was.

So nothing has changed. And thus, there’s every chance that we’ll see the past repeat itself.

It is totally depressing.

Smoke rising from an oil well off in the distanceSmoke rising from an oil well off in the distance
Photo: Sea Shepherd
But changing that is why we’re here. It is time for corporations to admit to their mistakes, instead of denying them or sweeping them under the rug. We need to investigate them and find out what went wrong, so we can avoid repeating them.

But given the current state of affairs, that process will fall far short of what is needed: we need to stop denying the peril that human civilization faces. As author and founder Bill McKibben notes so clearly, we must realize that if we are to prevent earth’s temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius by mid century, we can only put a further 575 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere. Although the world’s most prominent climatologist, James Hansen, calls agreeing to allow temperatures to rise by as much as two degrees Celsius by mid century is, "A prescription for long-term disaster,” it’s the only action on climate change that the world has managed to agree on. It was part of the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, which has now been ratified by 167 nations.

However, the oil companies and the countries that act like oil companies (e.g. Venezuela and Kuwait), possess proven coal, oil and gas reserves that would produce a total of 2,795 gigatons of carbon dioxide if burned. That is five times higher than the 575 gigatons of carbon dioxide that the atmosphere can absorb without the world’s temperature going higher than two degrees Celsius.

The value of the fossil fuels that would produce those 2,795 gigatons of carbon dioxide is $27 trillion. But to keep from destroying life as we know it, scientists are saying we should leave 80 percent of it in the ground. The big question is, how can the fossil fuel industry be convinced to leave 80 percent of their proven coal, oil and gas reserves in the ground? The answer is simple, only by being willing to lose about $20 trillion (I.e., 80 percent of the value of their companies). And what do you think are the chances of convincing them to do that?

After making the above calculation, McKibben notes:

Given this hard math, we need to view the fossil-fuel industry in a new light. It has become a rogue industry, reckless like no other force on earth. It is public enemy number one to the survival of our planetary civilization. “Lots of companies do rotten things in the course of their business – pay terrible wages, make people work in sweatshops – and we pressure them to change those practices,” says veteran anti-corporate leader Naomi Klein, ”but these numbers make clear that with the fossil-fuel industry, wrecking the planet is their business model. It's what they do.”

“According to the Carbon Tracker report, if Exxon burns its current reserves, it would use up more than seven percent of the available atmospheric space between us and the risk of two degrees. [Yet] in early March, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson told Wall Street analysts that the company plans to spend $37 billion a year through 2016 (about $100 million a day) searching for yet more oil and gas. There's not a more reckless man on the planet than Tillerson.”

So nothing has changed. And thus, there’s every chance that we’ll see the past repeat itselfSo nothing has changed. And thus, there’s every chance that we’ll see the past repeat itself
Photo: Sea Shepherd
The most urgent threat we face today is not terrorism, not loss of jobs, not global jihad, not pandemics of rogue viruses, it’s the madness of a fossil fuel industry that continues to put all of its energy and resources into pushing fossil fuels instead of investing a great percentage of their profits and talents in developing sustainable alternatives to power the future. Fortunately, we already know that there are several things that could work (wind, solar, tidal, wave, and geothermal power for example). Unfortunately, the decision to implement their development is in the hands of politicians whose sole interest seems to be in getting reelected—a goal for which they will sell themselves to the highest bidder—often fossil fuel companies. It is time to focus our major attention on leaving fossil fuels in the ground. It is time for oil companies to stop their madness and to put sums like the $100 million a day they are planning to spend on drilling for yet more oil and gas, into commercializing renewable power sources.

The captains of the fossil fuel industries are ignoring a fantastic opportunity—the greatest the world has ever offered any corporate heads, by seizing it they could become actual superheroes, making Superman, Batman and Spider-Man look like layabouts. For they could actually save the world rather than destroying it. And best of all, by doing so—and here, oh my best beloved, is the real payoff…by doing so, they would not experience the hatred of mankind, but its adulation and all the while they would be making far more money for themselves.

Are you listening Rex Tillerson? You could actually save life on earth, get even richer, and make all of us, and generations to come, love you.

Operation Toxic Gulf
Visit our
Operation Toxic Gulf
site for more information.

Jul 15, 2014

The Asahi Shimbun on Taiji with a Point-by-Point Rebuttal by Captain Paul Watson

Dolphin hunting town defends tradition as international criticism intensifies - By SON YUMMIN/ Staff Writer

July 15, 2014

Sea Shepherd will ensure that every dolphin killed will have the eyes of the world watching the horror in TaijiSea Shepherd will ensure that every dolphin killed will have the eyes of the world watching the horror in Taiji
Photo: Sea Shepherd
Captain Paul Watson: This is an important article by Son Yummin in a Japanese newspaper – The Asahi Shimbun. It is good that the story is being reported in the Japanese media and that the town of Taiji acknowledges the ever-growing criticism of their town’s brutal indulgence in the slaughter of dolphins.

AS: TAIJI, Wakayama Prefecture--Kiyoko Isoda fondly recalls a whale meat dish that has been a special treat since she was very young. When her classmates came to her home, her mother served them boiled and salted whale organs.

“One of my favorite foods since childhood is whale meat sukiyaki,” said Isoda, 77, who runs a guest house in Taiji.

Her husband worked on a whale fleet in the Antarctic Ocean, leaving every September and returning in March. To celebrate his homecoming, the family had a feast of the whale meat he brought back.

“A whale meat dish was a symbol of a happy home,” Isoda said.

Captain Paul Watson: The cost of a “happy home” meal in Japan is the diminishment of whale populations and the continuation of the horrific cruelty of whaling. Whales and dolphins have families also, and why should a hominid family be allowed to continue a tradition that is based on slaughter and cruelty?

AS: But such joy in this town has been replaced by concerns, anger and bewilderment that international protests over whale catches and the town’s now-famous dolphin hunt could lead to the demise of Taiji.

Captain Paul Watson: We are indeed happy to see that the “joy” is being taken out of the practice of killing dolphins. We are happy to hear that the people of Taiji are concerned. We are not so sure why they would be “bewildered” by the fact that other humans find the slaughter of dolphins to be unacceptably cruel and a threat to diversity within marine eco-systems.

AS: Townspeople insist that whaling is a centuries-old tradition that has saved Taiji during tough times and is a key source of income to keep families afloat. They also note that they are hunting dolphins and whales under a legal framework.

Captain Paul Watson: The International Court of Justice disagrees that the hunting of whales is legal. Tradition cannot be a justification for slaughter, cruelty and ecological degradation.

AS: “We have never done anything that violated the law, and we do our job with a sense of appreciation for the harvest,” said a fisherman involved in the dolphin hunt. “Why do we have to become the target of criticism for toiling to make ends meet?”

Captain Paul Watson: Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians are not violating Japanese law by opposing the slaughter of the dolphins.

This is not a question of making ends meet. The dolphin killers are extremely wealthy from the sale of dolphins to marine aquariums. This is not a subsistence hunt; it is motivated by greed. You harvest wheat; you don’t harvest dolphins.

AS: Ever since Taiji’s dolphin hunt was portrayed in an unflattering light in the Academy Award-winning 2009 documentary “The Cove,” this small seaside town has been on the radar of international conservation groups.

Captain Paul Watson: We salute Louie Psihoyos for his contribution to this cause with the making of this wonderful Academy Award-winning film. However, Sea Shepherd brought this to world’s attention in 2003. It has been a long process to make it into an international cause.

AS: Members of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society regularly show up in the town, often with video cameras, to closely monitor the activities of local fishermen and give online reports.

Captain Paul Watson: Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians will continue to be on the ground from September 1st until March 1st every year. The campaign is called Operation Infinite Patience and Sea Shepherd will not allow the slaughter to return to being out of sight and out of mind. Sea Shepherd will ensure that every dolphin killed will have the eyes of the world watching the horror in Taiji.

The incorrect statement here is “often with video cameras.” The correct statement is “always” with video cameras. The video camera is to a Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian what a rifle is to a soldier.

AS: Wakayama prefectural police set up a makeshift station in the town following a flurry of complaints by fishermen about what they described as harassment by the activists.

Captain Paul Watson: This has greatly increased the cost of supporting this atrocity. The fishermen say they are harassed yet the Cove Guardians will leave when the fishermen stop harassing and killing the dolphins.

AS: Entry to the area around the cove where the drive hunt of dolphins is conducted has been banned since late 2010 under a town ordinance. Town officials cited risks of mud- and rockslides in the area.

Captain Paul Watson: Try as they will to censure the hunt from the eyes of the world, they continue to fail to do so.

AS: But the ordinance has done little to stem the increase in hostility toward the dolphin hunt, and international opinion has since gone against the views of Taiji and Japan’s whaling industry.

Captain Paul Watson: Every year the Cove Guardians get stronger and every year the pressure on Japan and Taiji to end this bloody slaughter gets stronger. International opinion has been against whaling and dolphin killing for centuries.

AS: After U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy voiced her government’s position against dolphin drive hunting on Twitter in January, the Taiji fisheries cooperative office was inundated with 200 to 300 faxes daily denouncing the hunt. Some were written in English.

Captain Paul Watson: They actually get more than that.

AS: The office changed the fax number but has not disclosed the new number.

Captain Paul Watson: We will soon have the new fax number.

AS: In March, the International Court of Justice in The Hague handed down a ruling that effectively banned Japan’s “scientific” whaling off Antarctica, citing a lack of evidence to justify what Japan calls “research.”

“Anti-whaling organizations may intensify their protest activities by exploiting the court decision,” Taiji Mayor Kazutaka Sangen said.

Captain Paul Watson: No s___ , Sherlock. Do you think? Sea Shepherd is not exploiting the court decision; Sea Shepherd is working to uphold the court verdict.

AS: Some fishermen in Taiji also take part in research whaling off the Sanriku coast in northeastern Japan under a program sanctioned by the International Whaling Commission.

Captain Paul Watson: Research whaling is now officially illegal.

AS: When a fishing vessel returned to Taiji with a catch of two 5-meter-long pilot whales on May 17, the port was instantly galvanized.

“I am happy we were able to catch big ones,” the captain of the vessel said of the first harvest of this season, which runs from May to August.

A senior official with the local fishermen’s cooperative said many townspeople eagerly await the harvest each year.

Most of the whale meat is shipped out of the town, although some of it is sold at a Taiji supermarket run by the cooperative.

Taiji, with a population of about 3,000, is known as the original site in Japan for whale hunting that dates back to the Edo Period (1603-1867).

Captain Paul Watson: How this history translates into justifying the killing of whales in Antarctica and the selling of dolphins to marine aquariums is mysterious.

AS: Wedged between the sea and mountains, Taiji residents turned to fishing and hunting dolphins and whales for revenue because the land was unsuitable for farming. In the early Edo Period, local fishermen devised a collective method to catch whales by using banners and signal flares.

Many of their descendants became crew members of Japan’s whaling fleets in the Arctic and Antarctic.

Captain Paul Watson: In other words, they became criminals.

AS: The meat from the marine mammals became a precious source of protein and helped the town ride out the serious food shortages in the years after the end of World War II.

Captain Paul Watson: That was over 60 years ago. Japan is not, today, a protein-starved nation.

AS: Today, the locals are allowed to catch whales measuring up to about 10 meters long in Japan’s coastal waters without a license from the IWC. But they are required to gain permission from Japan’s agriculture and fisheries ministry, which sets the nation’s annual quota at 162.

Taiji fishermen can catch two kinds of whales--pilot whales and false killer whales.

Captain Paul Watson: In other words, the government authorized them to commit 162 murders.

AS: The harvest of the mammals accounts for about 20 percent of the town’s fishing industry, which is worth an annual 300 million yen ($2.94 million) to 400 million yen ($3.92 million).

Captain Paul Watson: Groups including Sea Shepherd have offered to compensate Taiji for their financial losses if they quit killing. The offers have been consistently refused.

AS: “The town’s history has revolved around the whaling industry,” a Taiji resident said.

Captain Paul Watson: There are towns in the world where the history revolved around the trade in slaves, opium, cocaine and ivory, and towns that once whaled like Albany, Australia; New Bedford, USA; etc. They have kept the history but have stopped the atrocities. A history of atrocity does not justify the continuation of an atrocity.

AS: The locals also resent the protesters’ portrayals of Taiji as a town of bloodthirsty butchers with no respect for the lives of dolphins and whales.

Captain Paul Watson: We resent the fact that the town is full of blood thirsty butchers who have no respect for the lives of dolphins and whales.

AS: Residents point to a monument dedicated to caught whales that was built in 1979 on a hill commanding a grand view of the sea. Buddhist priests perform a memorial service at the monument every April.

Captain Paul Watson: Wow, erecting a monument to those you murder seems to be yet another bizarre justification of sociopathic behavior. The Buddhist priest may very well perform a ceremony for the whales and dolphins slain but no self-respecting Buddhist can condone the actual slaughter of whales and dolphins.

AS: The Taiji Whale Museum, built in 1969, exhibits an array of devices that were used to hunt whales from bygone days. The museum also shows the evolution of the town as the center of the nation’s whale hunt.

Captain Paul Watson: It is not a real museum because it discriminates as to who can enter to view what is inside. It operates as a private club and openly practices discrimination based on race and culture. There are museums in New Bedford and Nantucket in the USA and Albany in Australia where people can see the evolution of the towns from barbaric whaling activities to civilized townships today.

AS: Takumi Kyuhara, a 65-year-old resident of Taiji, buys several kilograms of whale meat from research whaling each year to send to friends who have left the town.

“When they have dishes of whale meat, they will think of their hometown,” he said. “Whales serve as a reminder of me and their hometown.”

Captain Paul Watson: Not much of a heritage for the town if the only reminder is a feast of whale meat.

AS: Katsutoshi Mihara, 76, former head of the town assembly, also laments how Taiji has become a target of international criticism.

Captain Paul Watson: Taiji has earned its reputation as a ruthless town without pity and a barbaric community of dolphin murderers. The international criticism will continue to grow.

AS: “When I hear critics shout ‘anti-whaling,’ I feel like all aspects of our lives are condemned,” he said.

Captain Paul Watson: Not all aspects of their lives. That is certainly overly dramatic but there is no question that the majority of the world’s people condemn the slaughter and the horrific cruelty of the dolphin drives.

I do not condemn the people of Taiji for anything other than their continued infliction of death and suffering to dolphins and whales.

Cove Guardians
Visit our
Cove Guardians
site for more information.

Jul 10, 2014

Divers for the Oceans: Champion Freedivers Join Sea Shepherd to End Cetacean Slaughter in the Coves

Divers for the OceansSea Shepherd proudly announces the launch of our Divers for the Oceans video. The world’s leading freedivers joined Sea Shepherd, displaying the Jolly Roger in the crystal-like waters of the Plemmirio Marine Reserve in Siracusa, Italy, to call for an end to the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji and the Faroe Islands.

Surrounded by the breathtakingly beautiful environment of the Plemmirio Marine Reserve, the Divers for the Oceans sent out an uncompromising clarion call to the Faroe Islands and to Japan: “NO MORE KILLING IN THE COVES. STOP THE SLAUGHTER NOW.”

Every year, from September through March of the following year, the Cove Guardians keep watch over Taiji’s infamous Cove to monitor and expose the atrocities that occur there – the brutal slaughter of entire pods of dolphins and the trade of wild-caught dolphins for captivity around the world.

Sea Shepherd Global launched its largest campaign in the Faroe Islands to date on June 17. Operation GrindStop 2014 will defend pilot whales and other dolphins from the mass slaughter known as the Grind, continued in the name of a barbaric tradition.

The anti-poaching campaign to defend the Plemmirio Marine Reserve, Operation Siracusa, is Sea Shepherd’s first campaign in Italy. Our goal is to defend and conserve marine wildlife for future generations, working in the framework of the protection of the Mediterranean ecosystem. In just the first 10 days of the campaign, illegal equipment and nets were seized, 1,000 sea urchins were saved along with several other species, and 7 poaching operations were busted.

“The town welcomed us generously. Siracusa is extraordinarily rich in history, nature and beauty. Without the citizens actively taking part in our campaign, we would never have obtained such positive results in such a short time. Sea Shepherd Global is proud of this first Italian campaign, and Sea Shepherd will continue to offer assistance and protection to these places whose unique biodiversity can rarely be observed elsewhere in our Planet's seas,” said Captain Alex Cornelissen, Sea Shepherd Global Executive Director, from Siracusa.

About The Divers for the Oceans:

Enzo Maiorca: Enzo is a freediving champion, known as the “King of the Abyss.” He is an international icon of the freediving world. Since 1988, he has dedicated his life to safeguarding the natural and marine environment, showing great commitment to this cause. In September 2012, he became a member of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's Board of Advisors. Enzo, together with his daughter Patriza Maiorca, was the strong igniting force behind Operation Siracusa, Sea Shepherd Global's first Italian campaign.

Patrizia Maiorca: Patrizia is a freediving champion – both in the constant weight and in the variable weight category. Since retiring from competitive diving, she has devoted her life, together with her father Enzo, to protecting the sea and marine wildlife. She is a member of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's Board of Advisors and has been a decisive force alongside Enzo in Operation Siracusa with the aim of defending the Plemmirio Marine Reserve in Sicily.

Herbert Nitsch: Known as “the deepest man in the world,” Herbert is the holder of the No-Limits record (absolute variable weight), having reached a dive depth of -253.2 meters. He is a marine conservation ambassador, and became a member of Sea Shepherd’s Board of Advisors in December 2013.

Gianluca Genoni: Gianluca started his competitive career as a swimmer, but very soon he was fascinated by the freediving world. Among his remarkable achievements are reaching the world record for freediving with pure oxygen, which he achieved in 2008; and the world record in freediving with an electric propulsion device, which he conquered in 2012, as well as countless other world records in various freediving categories.

Mike Maric: Mike’s love of freediving began in 1997, thanks to his meeting Umberto Pelizzari. He specialized in the use of the monoflipper and three years later, in 2004, he achieved the world record in the Jump Blue category. He is currently concentrating on teaching how to dive with a monoflipper, which he himself describes as “a really unique piece of equipment that allows a man to be the closest thing to a dolphin.” Mike is also training and coaching world champion Ilaria Bonin, and is a consultant for the ADN Swim Project.

Production: Idea
Location: Area marina Protetta Plemmirio
Diving: Capo Murro di Porco
Cameraman: Manfred Bortoli
Team: Fabio Portella, Antonio Drosi, Elio Nicosia, Alessandro Quercioli, Francesco Bombara, Simone Fabac

Jul 08, 2014

NOAA Grants SeaWorld Permit to Import Captive Dolphin Kirara from Japan

SeaWorld LLC quietly submitted an applicationin August 2012, requesting the import of Kirara from Kamogawa Sea World in JapanKamogawa Sea World
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons
SeaWorld LLC quietly submitted an application to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in August 2012, requesting the import of captive Pacific white-sided dolphin, Kirara from Kamogawa SeaWorld in Japan. Just as quietly, in a federal register notice released Sunday night but dated for Monday June 7th, the NOAA has granted SeaWorld their permit to import this dolphin for “public display”.

As the permit is open until June 30th, 2017, SeaWorld could import Kirara at any time before that date. SeaWorld has estimated that her transport from Kamogawa Sea World to SeaWorld San Antonio in Texas will take approximately 22 hours. During this time, Kirara, like so many other whales and dolphins transported by the greedy captive industry, will be confined to a tiny, dark crate for the long and frightening trip via aircraft and truck.

Below is a graphic taken directly from SeaWorld’s permit application, depicting the method in which Kirara will be relocated. SeaWorld writes, “The animal will be transported under the direct supervision of the SeaWorld professional staff. A veterinarian will accompany the animal at all times during the move.” They then incorrectly state, “We have attached for your consideration an illustration of the transport unit which will be utilized to move this pilot whale.” The fact that the caring professionals at SeaWorld can’t even remember which species of dolphin they’re currently planning to transport for imprisonment is telling.

Kirara was born in captivity at Kamogawa Sea World, but her parents were taken from the wild. SeaWorld’s application states “the sire, CO9L0047, and the dam, CO9L0046, were collected from a set net procedure in the Kyoto Prefecture on 2-8-94 and 2-9-94 and transported to the Kinosaki Aquarium. They were transferred to Kamogawa Sea World on 11-8-94.” Kamogawa Sea World stresses that they were not caught in a drive fishery such as the brutal and infamous hunt in Taiji, but this indicates that they were intentionally taken for captivity. As we have previously stated, in Taiji, Pacific white-sided dolphins are no longer driven into the Cove like other species of dolphins, as they tend to throw themselves onto the rocks in their extreme fear and desperation to escape. They are now captured in nets beyond the Cove.

“Though Kirara was captive-born, by allowing this dolphin born of wild-caught parents to be imported by SeaWorld from Japan for captivity, the NOAA is supporting Japan’s continued capture and killing of dolphins. “Sea Shepherd is outraged that this federal agency would stand behind Japan’s horrific treatment of intelligent, socially complex marine mammals, especially as the United States government has condemned Japan’s drive fisheries and illegal whale hunts,” said Sea Shepherd USA Administrative Director Susan Hartland.

CALL TO ACTION: Join Sea Shepherd in asking SeaWorld not to import Kirara for display at SeaWorld San Antonio. We must keep the pressure on and let SeaWorld know that the public stands against Japan’s cruel capture and slaughter of dolphins and the global captive industry’s ongoing financial support of these atrocities. SeaWorld and friends have enough blood on their hands.

Please use the contact information below to ask SeaWorld to halt plans to transport Kirara.

Brad F. Andrews
Chief Zoological Officer
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Inc.
9205 South Park Circle, Suite 400
Orlando, FL 32819
Tel: (407) 226-5182

Office of Protected Resources (F/PR)
National Marine Fisheries Service
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: 301-427-8400
Fax: 301-713-0376


Jennifer Skidmore
Fisheries Management Specialist
Office of Protected Resources (F/PR)
National Marine Fisheries Service
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: (301)427-8401
Fax: (301)713-0376

SeaWorld Twitter

SeaWorld San Antonio Facebook

SeaWorld San Antonio Twitter

Jul 08, 2014

Note to All the Pro-Whale Murdering Sea Shepherd Haters in the Faroe Islands

Commentary by Sea Shepherd Founder Captain Paul Watson

Sea Shepherd is dedicated to eradicating the obscenity of whaling worldwide.Sea Shepherd is dedicated to eradicating
the obscenity of whaling worldwide
Photo: Sea Shepherd
We don’t care what you call us, or what you think of us.

All your name calling, lies, accusations and hate rhetoric mean nothing.

Except to notify me to ban you from my page and to delete your words.

Hate us all you wish but it changes nothing. Sea Shepherd is dedicated to eradicating the obscenity of whaling worldwide. We equate the killing of whales with murder.

Taking the life of an intelligent, self aware, wild, sentient being is murder and every fabricated justification the murderers or those who sympathize with murder post, does not change that fact.

We are not alone in this opinion. The government of India representing over one billion citizens officially recognizes dolphins as non-human persons and the killing of a person is an act of murder.

It is also interesting that the Norwegian word for murder is “drap” and the Faroese themselves call their whale killing the Grindadrap or “whale murder.”

Sea Shepherd is not anti-Faroese. We are anti-murder and we believe in the conservation of life and of diversity and thus we do not oppose the Faroese for being Faroese, we oppose those particular Faroese citizens that indulge in cruelty, slaughter and ecological destruction.

Our objective is to make the entire world aware of this ongoing obscenity just as we are doing with the horrific murder of dolphins in Taiji, Japan.

We see any attempt to justify this slaughter as equivalent to someone attempting to justify rape, serial killing and child molestation.

We reject all the pathetic attempts to compare the killing of pilot whales with the killing of chickens and pigs for the simple reason that we ourselves do not eat chickens and pigs plus there is no abattoir in the world that would condone the cruelty of the Grind.

What abattoir allows amateurish killers to torture animals while children look on or allows children to sit upon and mutilate the carcasses? Stop making such ridiculous comparisons. It just illustrates how desperate you are to defend the abomination you call the Grind.

The Faroe Islands rank as one of the most beautiful places in the world tarnished only by this foul bloody evil called the Grind. The whales are already suffering from the mercury and other heavy metal pollutants in the sea and because of this, Faroese children are exposed to these poisons, and to knowingly feed mercury contaminated meat to a child is quite simply negligent child abuse.

For those who demand that we respect this tradition, my answer is never. How can we respect murder and cruelty? We don’t respect people who inflict pain and death on the innocent no matter how much they attempt to justify it with meaningless words like tradition and culture.

For those who justify it because it is a tradition I can only state that barbaric traditions have no place in the 21st Century. If Catalonia can ban the bullfight, the Faroes can certainly ban the Grind. Cock-fighting, dog fighting, bear baiting, bull fighting are all traditions that have been banned in much of the civilized world. The Grind is simply an archaic practice of cruelty that serves only to demean and disgrace the islands that it is practiced on.

We believe that defending the whales is worth the risks we need to take. Sea Shepherd volunteers are ready to stand unarmed in opposition to the knife-wielding killers in the Faroe Islands.

We know that we are not just in the Faroes to defend pilot whales alone. We are there to defend diversity of life in the Ocean because the simple fact is that if the Ocean dies, we all die.

We defend the parts to protect the whole. Defending pilot whales is a battle in the war to save our Ocean from the destructive ravages of humankind.

Sea Shepherd is not specifically targeting the Faroes. We are in Taiji Japan for the Dolphins, in the Gulf of Mexico for the Sperm whales, in the Southern Ocean for the Minke, Fins and Humpbacks, in Western Australia and Hong Kong for the sharks, in Hawaii for the reef fishes, off the coast of West Africa to oppose the fish poachers, in the Galapagos to stop the shark poachers, and on the beaches of Guatemala to protect the turtles.

For those who say what are you doing about pollution I can say that Sea Shepherd’s The Vortex Project is dedicated to removing and recycling plastic from the ocean, and our Operation Toxic Gulf is working to investigate the toxicity levels in Sperm whales caused by the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster.

When some Faroese say that the nations that use oil, plastics and chemicals kill more whales than they do, I can only remind them that the Faroes are a nation that uses oil, plastic and chemicals just like any other nation and thus they cannot separate themselves from the other nations that do so.

This is a global movement with a global agenda and the Faroe Islands are a part of this agenda.

We are dedicated to abolishing the Grind – no matter how long it will take, no matter the risks we must undertake.

And for those who say we shall not prevail, the same was said to us by the Australian whalers in 1977, yet we shut down the Aussie slaughter in 1978. The same was said by the Canadian sealers, yet we shut down the markets for seal products in Europe and China. The same was said by the drift netters of the North Pacific and the Caribbean in 1990, yet we had drift nets banned by 1993.

And for those who say we are fighting a lost cause, my answer is that lost causes are the only causes worth fighting for.

For those who say we oppose the Grind because we profit from it, I can say that the volunteers on the ground and in our boats on Faroese water are there on their own time and at their own cost. I am not paid by Sea Shepherd to defend life in our oceans and not a penny of donations given to oppose the Grind goes into my pocket.

I know it is hard for people motivated by profit to understand how and why people can defend marine life without profit to themselves. The greedy are incapable of comprehending empathy and compassion.

The men and women opposing the slaughter of the pilot whales are men and women of true compassion and courage and they are deserving of respect and that is the reason I have zero tolerance for abusive, insulting comments.

I first began opposing the Grind in 1983. Three decades later I continue to oppose the slaughter and what I have seen is that whereas in 1983, the support in the Faroes for the Grind was 100%, that support has eroded away and now there is a significant Faroese opposition to the Grind. It may take some time to end this obscenity altogether but I think that one day we will finally see the end of it.

Our strategy has always been long term, a combination of documentation, exposure, international publicity and direct intervention and most importantly persistence.

The murder of the pilot whales in the Faroes, like the murder of the dolphins in Taiji, is a crime against nature and a crime against cetaceans and humanity. It is a savage, barbaric, horrifically cruel and bloody atrocity and it must not be allowed to continue in a civilized world.

In short we who oppose death and who champion life are in opposition to those who condone and inflict death and disdain the miracle of life.

The Grind must be and will be ended – that is our objective and we will not back down in the face of threats, insults and injury by the arrogant and the ignorant.

If the whales die, the Oceans die and if the Oceans die, we all die.

Operation GrindStop
Visit our
Operation GrindStop 2014
site for more information.

Jul 07, 2014

CALL TO ACTION: Oppose the Planned Killing of 16,000 Cormorants Along the Columbia River

Cormorants are being targeted simply because they eat salmonCormorants are being targeted simply
because they eat salmon
Photo: Sea Shepherd
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced plans to shoot thousands of double-crested cormorants in the Columbia River Estuary beginning next year.

Much like California sea lions at the Columbia River, cormorants are being targeted simply because they eat salmon. Federal officials are claiming that these seabirds, protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, eat too many juvenile salmon, as well as steelhead, as the fish migrate through the river estuary to the Pacific Ocean. The proposed cull program would claim the lives of 16,000 cormorants over the course of four years, with killing taking place during the birds’ nesting seasons. Oil will also be spread over cormorant eggs to suffocate the eggs and ensure that they do not hatch. While the Army Corps emphasizes the increase in the East Sand Island double-crested cormorant population in recent years, populations of these birds in general have been declining and the sustainability of this large-scale cull is questionable at best.

Sea Shepherd’s Dam Guardians were on the frontlines along the Columbia River and at the Bonneville Dam in 2012 and 2013, documenting the hazing, trapping and cruel branding of sea lions by the Oregon and Washington Departments of Fish & Wildlife for the “crime” of eating salmon. If any of the branded sea lions are determined to be eating “too many” salmon, they are killed – and the federal government has allowed these states to kill up to 92 federally protected sea lions each year until June 2016. It is important to note that “too many salmon” might constitute just one salmonid. The sea lion cull continues, despite the fact that they consume only 1-4% of the salmon, while fisheries are typically allowed to take 10-12%.

USDA bird hazer sets off explosives at the Bonneville Dam, May 2013USDA bird hazer sets off explosives at the
Bonneville Dam, May 2013
Photo: Sea Shepherd
The Army Corps reports that non-lethal methods – including “hazing with lights, reducing nesting habitat, and using human presence to flush double-crested cormorants off potential nesting sites” – have been tested. Sea Shepherd has documented bird hazers from the USDA harassing cormorants along the river, frightening the birds with explosives.

Just as the taxpayer-funded culling of sea lions at the Bonneville Dam will not solve the problem of a declining salmon population, nor will the shooting and killing of cormorants – set to cost up to $1.5 million each year of the four-year cull. The scapegoating of these innocent animals redirects the public’s focus from the real problems at the Columbia – overfishing, a polluted river filled with toxins, and the dam itself.

CALL TO ACTION: Though Sea Shepherd does not currently have Dam Guardians on the ground, we remain dedicated to protecting the animals who call the Columbia River home and exposing the true threats to this endangered salmon population. Please join us in speaking out against the planned killing of 16,000 cormorants for the “crime” of eating salmon. Here are ways you can help:

1) Attend one or both of the upcoming public meetings scheduled by the Army Corps of Engineers to discuss the proposed cull to show that you stand with the cormorants and the sea lions, as well as the salmon:

July 10 from 2:30pm to 5:30pm PT
Matt Dishman Community Center
77 N.E. Knott St.
Portland, Oregon

July 24 from 3pm to 6pm

Best Western Lincoln Inn
555 Hamburg Ave.
Astoria, Oregon

2) Submit public comments against the cull:



Sondra Ruckwardt
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District
Attn: CENWP-PM-E / Double-creasted cormorant draft EIS
P.O. Box 2946
Portland, OR 97208-2946

The deadline for public comments is August 4, 2014.

First sea lions. Now cormorants. Where and when will it end?

Dam Guardians
Visit our
Dam Guardians
site for more information.

Jul 01, 2014

Sea Shepherd Summit 2014

By Sea Shepherd Founder Captain Paul Watson

Kahnawake blessing Kahnawake blessing
Photo: Sea Shepherd / Bill Rankin
The first Sea Shepherd Summit was a great success and Sea Shepherd has decided to hold a Second Global Summit on June 21st, 2015.

More than 250 people attended the three-and-a-half-day event at a farm in Woodstock, Vermont and it was an opportunity for people from Sea Shepherd national and regional groups around the world to meet and speak with each other.

Most importantly, the Summit established this one most imperative thing and that is the understanding that Sea Shepherd is an international movement. Sea Shepherd is no longer an organization; it is a collective of national Sea Shepherd entities under the umbrella of Sea Shepherd Global with Captain Alex Cornelissen as the Global Director.

Sea Shepherd Global, based in the Netherlands, will coordinate all communications between all Sea Shepherd national entities.

All the delegates at the Summit were in agreement that Sea Shepherd is a non-violent movement that stands fast and never backs down in defense of life and bio-diversity in the oceans.

Biologist Roger Payne and Captain Paul WatsonBiologist Roger Payne and Captain Paul Watson
Photo: Sea Shepherd / Bill Rankin
The Summit was organized by Amber Chenoweth. Our extraordinary sea-cook Laura Dakin from Australia produced 100% vegan meals three times daily for all the participants, an epic task that deserves recognition. (Watch for the release of Laura's cookbook this year.) Thank you to Gardein and Guayaki Yerba Mate for their donations, which helped feed the attendees.

The big tent is now down, the small tents have been packed up. Thank-you to the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawks) of Kahnawake for blessing this event on their traditional lands. Thank you to Pritam Singh and Annie Johnston for hosting the Summit on their farm.

Thank you to my family who came. My daughter Lilliolani and my granddaughter Gemma. My sisters Sharyn and Rosemarie, my brother-in-law Peter Van Der Gulick, my sister-in-law Renee Watson, my nephews Alexis Lum and Shawn Watson. And to Emily Hunter, the daughter of my late good friend, Robert Hunter. Of my family who attended, Lilliolani, Shawn Watson, Alexis Lum and Emily Hunter have all served as crew.

Many past crewmembers attended that I can't list them all here. But I will mention Josephine Mussomeli, Peter Brown, Bob LeVangie, Rod Marining and Al Johnson who served in the 1980s and still remain loyal supporters.

Attending participants came from numerous nations including the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Denmark, U.K., Scotland, Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, Brazil, Belgium, Chile, South Africa, Hong Kong, Austria, and Spain. (My apologies if I forgot anyone.)

It was a landmark gathering of likeminded, passionate warriors for the sea. I was very pleased to see so many supporters, staff and crew gathered in one inspirational spot and hear about all the good work being done by Sea Shepherd entities around the world — from documenting dolphin slaughter in Japan to innovating ocean plastics cleanup to opposing shark finning in China to researching the aftermath of the Gulf of Mexico’s Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill to working with the Senegalese government to stop fish poachers and the list goes on. It showed me that Sea Shepherd, the movement, is alive and well — and growing.

Jun 30, 2014

Captain Paul Watson Needs You. The Whales Need You.

The pilot whales need youThe pilot whales need you
Photo: Sea Shepherd / Peter Hammarstedt
Operation GrindStop
2014 has been underway for almost a month. Many volunteers from all over the world are joining us to stand with and for the pilot whales here in the Danish Faroe Islands. No whales have been killed in the Faroe Islands since we arrived. We’re expanding our ground teams in hopes of keeping it that way.

There is no way to know if whales will die tomorrow.

We need you. The pilot whales need you.

We are here until October 1. Please consider applying to be part of the onshore crew. We are watching every killing beach, every day, and we are ready to step in for the pilot whales. Are you? There are 22 killing beaches here. It is a monumental job and we need your help. Your eyes. Your hands. The more we have, the easier the job and the better the chances of Sea Shepherd being there should the whales need us.

We hope to hear from you!

Operation Grindstop 2014 On-Shore Crew Application

Operation GrindStop
Visit our
Operation GrindStop 2014
site for more information.