Sea Shepherd UK is pleased to announce the recent addition to our RIB fleet named Shadow’ due to its all black appearance.
Shadow will join our three existing vessels and will be primarily used on SSUK’s Ghostnet Campaign, Marine Debris Campaign and for coastal patrols.
Shadow was formerly the main patrol boat of the Northumberland Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority and as such is equipped for long distances, day and night operations and rough seas. Based on the capable Humber Ocean Pro hull, the boat will work primarily with SSUK’s ex-RNLI Atlantic 75 ‘Ghost’ transporting volunteer divers to sites where fishing gear has been lost or discarded. Such ‘ghost’ fishing gear poses a threat to the welfare of wildlife such as porpoises, turtles and sea birds as it continues to catch marine life long after being discarded.
Shadow is extremely well equipped for the job and at 7.5m is big enough to take on the rough seas but is still manageable enough to transport around the UK to wherever problems are reported. To assist with the retrieval of large nets, Shadow is equipped with a NorthLift net hauler forward of the console.
Whilst Shadow’s primary duties will be as a support vessel on the Ghostnet Campaign, due to the nature of her build she will also make an exceptional boat for wildlife crime investigations and patrolling for illegal and harmful activities carried out in UK waters. Shadow's twin 150L fuel tanks and twin Suzuki 70hp engines will allow her to be on the water for extended periods and the fitted 3D structure scan sonar is invaluable in locating fishing gear and potential dive sites underwater. Shadow has four shock mitigation seats and an automatic liferaft, radar reflector, digital VHF radio and full coded safety equipment will ensure that all crew are kept safe and comfortable.
Watch the SHADOW launch video:
Read more about Sea Shepherd's Ghostnet campaign at: https://www.seashepherd.org.uk/campaigns/operation-ghostnet.html
Abandoned fishing nets and lines become indescriminate death traps for marne wildlife causing suffering, suffocation, starvation and eventually the death of the marine animal.
You can now report nets directly to Sea Shepherd's Ghostnet Campaign Crew via our secure form at: https://bit.ly/2ZqgbwO
For the second year in a row, there will be no whales harpooned in Iceland’s waters. While Covid-19 physical distancing measures would affect the operations at the Hvalur hf whaling station at Hvalfjörður - there are many other challenges keeping Icelandic whaling companies from slaughtering whales.
After whaling company 'Hvalur hf' killed 155 fin whales in 2015, Japan improved their testing protocols. New standards for imported whale meat caused major issues as Hvalur hf's fin whale meat failed Japanese Ministry of Health testing, effectively ending whaling for another three years.
Apparently overcoming the whale meat import issues from 2015, Kristjan Loftsson, CEO of Hvalur hf, re-started whaling in 2018 but had his entire whaling season documented by Sea Shepherd UK’s crew on Operation Mjölnir. As documented by Sea Shepherd, the company's two whaling ships Hvalur 8 and Hvalur 9 killed 144 endangered fin whales (including 21 pregnant females) and two rare blue/fin whale hybrids. Photographic and video evidence collected during Operation Mjolnir were subsequently used to assist in investigations by local authorities of Hvalur hf (which still faces ongoing investigations into multiple legal violations in Iceland) that have created major obstacles to their whaling operation - regardless of the COVID-19 pandemic or the declining demand for whale meat both in Iceland and in Japan.
The first Fin whale of the 2018 Icelandic whaling season being winched up the slipway at whaling station after having been harpooned the day before by Hvalur 8 – (Photo by Sea Shepherd UK 22nd June 2018 at 00.30hrs)
Kristjan Loftsson also acknowledged the lack of a profitable market for the meat now that Japan, the sole importer of fin whale products from Iceland and accounting for over 95% of Hvalur hf's potential market, began a reduced government-subsidized commercial whaling operation in their own territorial waters after finally ending the annual hunt in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and leaving the International Whaling Commission (IWC). With the Japanese taxpayer subsidizing the (also failing) Japanese whaling operation, the focus in Japan is on attempting to find a market for the products from their own whaling fleet, which leaves Hvalur hf unable to compete and turn a profit.
"I believe the writing is on the wall now for the world's most notorious whaler Kristjan Loftsson and his company Hvalur hf. Now is the time for Loftsson to hang up his harpoons and for Iceland to become an ethical whale watching nation," stated Rob Read, Chief Operating Officer of Sea Shepherd UK and coordinator of Operation Mjölnir.
Whaling ship Hvalur 8 returning with one Blue/Hybrid whale and one Fin whale (Photo: Sea Shepherd UK 11/7/2018 at 12:47 am
The other Icelandic whaling company 'IP-Utgerd' killed just six minke whales in 2018 and appeared to suffer repeated mechanical issues with their whaling vessel, which later lead to a statement from the company that it was no longer financially viable to hunt for minke whales, specifically blaming Iceland’s expansion of the whale sanctuary in Faxaflói bay in West Iceland, forcing the minke whaling further offshore. This month, the company's managing director Gunnar Bergmann was quoted by AFP as finally stating, “I'm never going to hunt whales again, I'm stopping for good.”
While fin whales were primarily hunted for export, with 1500 tons sent to Japan in 2015 and then again in 2018 - minke whales have been hunted in smaller numbers for the dwindling domestic market. According to a poll done by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Capacent Gallup, only 3.2% of Iceland's population eats whale meat on a regular basis (defined as six times a year or more) and even fewer (1.7%) eat whale meat at least once a month. Much of the local consumption was from curious tourists, but even that has declined due to the popularity of whale watching and the local “Meet Us, Don’t Eat Us” initiative to educate tourists about whaling in Iceland and promote whale-meat-free restaurants in the country.
The 2020 season will be the second year since 2002 that no whales will be slaughtered in Iceland’s waters since the country decided to resume whaling in 2003 in opposition to the International Whaling Commission's (IWC) 1986 moratorium.
READ MORE at Sea Shepherd UK's Operation Mjölnir campaign pages.
English television presenter, journalist and documentary filmmaker Stacey Dooley MBE met Sea Shepherd crew during her latest documentary, Stacey Dooley Investigates: The Whale Hunters, while researching the hunting of pilot whales and dolphins in the Faroe Islands.
Sea Shepherd have been leading the opposition to the grindadráp (or ‘grind’ as the hunts are locally known) since the early 1980s. 2019 saw Sea Shepherd crew living in the Faroe Islands for the organisation’s eleventh year of campaigning against the hunts - ‘Operation Bloody Fjords’.
Dooley met with Sea Shepherd volunteers who come from all over the world and aim to bring to light what is happening by sharing images on social media and live streaming the hunts.
Footage from one of the livestreams showed the attempted slaughter of a dolphin with a spinal lance (a tool specifically designed to kill pilot whales and dolphins). When the dolphin didn’t immediately die, a knife was used to kill the mammal.
Other volunteer footage showed a pilot whale suffering a similar fate.
Dooley met with Kate Sanderson, an advisor to the Faroese government on responsible hunting, to put forward the argument that despite all the research to the contrary, the whales and dolphins in the grind often don’t die quickly and do suffer. Her concern was that this suffering isn’t monitored, and she showed Sanderson Sea Shepherd footage to confirm her argument.
Sanderson conceded that “it is a slaughter of wild animals in an uncontrolled environment, so it’s never going to be completely clinical.”
Dooley concluded the documentary stating that whale hunting is an emotive topic because it involves people’s traditions and beliefs, but admitted that she didn’t agree with the suffering of these animals.
She revealed that the Faroese government had written to her to inform her that that they are developing a smaller spinal lance for dolphins.
Rob Read, Chief Operating Officer of Sea Shepherd UK, said: “We worked with the producers of this documentary in terms of giving them some background to the whaling season and what to expect but had no input whatsoever to the content. To see Stacey’s genuine reaction when witnessing the killing of a dolphin, said it all for me. Not to mention the fact that there is plenty of research pointing towards the fact that the consumption of whale meat exposes people to high levels of heavy metal and industrial pollutant poisoning, which wasn’t covered in the programme”.
UK residents can watch the full documentary now on BBC3 at: bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p07zt8qv/stacey-dooley-investigates-the-whale-hunters
Watch the 6 minute BBC3 short of the episode at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uLjgf8ZlUc
Read the related BBC article: ‘The grind: Stacey Dooley investigates a controversial, bloody whale hunting tradition’ at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/article/65138f74-e295-4bb7-9cde-88e1333499a2
‘Stacey Dooley Investigates: The Whale Hunters’ will also be shown on mainstream TV on BBC2 and is being released for worldwide distribution via the BBC network and affiliates.
To read more about Sea Shepherd’s history opposing the grindadrap hunts in the Faroe Islands and more on the latest campaign ‘Operation Bloody Fjords’ see:
Sea Shepherd is calling on cruise companies visiting the Faroe Islands to show their opposition to the hunting of hundreds of pilot whales and dolphins each year by removing the Faroe Islands from their future cruise ship itineraries.
Sea Shepherd has been leading the opposition to the grindadráp (or ‘grind’ as these hunts are commonly called) since the early 1980s and is currently in the Faroe Islands for the organisation’s eleventh year with ‘Operation Bloody Fjords 2019’. As part of this campaign Sea Shepherd UK is appealing for cruise ship companies to publicly voice their opposition to the killing of around 850 pilot whales and dolphins each year by the Faroese.
Captain Paul Watson (Sea Shepherd’s Founder) and Rob Read (Chief Operating Officer of Sea Shepherd UK) and Helen Taylor (Ambassador of Sea Shepherd UK) have written to all sixteen cruise companies offering trips to the Faroe islands, requesting that they declare that the Faroes Islands will no longer be a port of call or destination of their ships until such times as the grindadráp is consigned to history.
Hvannasund grindadrap - 87 long finned pilot whales & 12 Atlantic White Sided Dolphins were killed on 16th August 2018
Letters (both hardcopy and by email) have been sent to the Chief Executives and Presidents of the following cruise companies: Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Hurtigruten, Viking Ocean Cruises, Silversea, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Phoenix Reisen, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Pullmantur, Seabourn, Nicko Cruises, Plantours Kreuzfahrten, Oceania Cruises and Windstar Cruises.
Watson and Read have explained that the hunts “can happen at any time, at any one of the 26 designated killing bays around the Faroe Islands…. with no season, no quota, a lack of effective regulation and despite pilot whale meat being heavily contaminated”. And that when the Faroese kill pilot whales and dolphins “every member of every pod is killed including pregnant mothers, juveniles and weaning babies. None are ever spared”.
Sea Shepherd crew are currently on the Faroe Islands engaging with tourists (including those arriving on the islands by cruise ship) and educating them about this barbaric activity and encouraging them to limit their spending on the islands in silent protest of the hunts.
Atlantic White Sided Dolphins of all ages killed in a grindadrap at Hvalvik - 11th September 2018
This year our crew in the Faroes is again filming, photographing and live-streaming the hunts to the web as well as working with mainstream TV crews, journalists and documentary makers to expose the dolphin hunts to a worldwide audience in several different languages.
In 2015 Sea Shepherd successfully persuaded two major German cruise-liner companies (AIDA and Hapag-Lloyd) to cancel their tours to the Faroe Islands because of the continued Faroese dolphin hunts. Despite this bold move - the number of cruise ships visiting the Faroes has increased dramatically in recent years largely due to a well-funded publicity drive by ‘Visit Faroe Islands’, the public face of the Faroe Islands' official tourist board - describing the islands as “Europe’s best kept secret”.
“If the cruise companies back this campaign and stop taking tourists to the Faroe Islands this will significantly impact the islands’ economy. Combined with Sea Shepherd UK’s continuous exposure of this issue, it is hoped our efforts will finally force the Danish Government and Faroese Parliament to call a final halt to these unnecessary and cruel hunts” - Rob Read, Chief Operating Officer, Sea Shepherd UK
Read the letter sent to the cruise companies HERE
- 536 long finned pilot whales and 7 Atlantic white sided dolphins killed in the Danish Faroe Islands so far in 2019. The first hunt of a family of 70 pilot whales on New Year’s Day immediately lost the Faroese a One Million Euros incentive to end the Grindadráp (100,000 Euros each year for 10 consecutive years if there was zero cetacean kills) which was offered by Sea Shepherd UK on the 28th September 2018.
- Over the last decade, a total of 7,744 small cetaceans of 5 different species have lost their lives in the Faroe Islands in grindadráp hunts.
- In 2008, an article in the New Scientist told how Faroe chief medical officers Pál Weihe and Høgni Debes Joensen deemed whale meat unsafe for human consumption because of high mercury content. They told how mercury poisoning could trigger a range of ailments including fetal neural development, high blood pressure, circulatory problems and possible infertility.
To read more about this campaign and view images of the grindadráp hunts which Sea Shepherd UK have photographed in 2017 and 2018 visit: https://www.seashepherd.org.uk/campaigns/operation-bloody-fjords/
For more details on our cruise ship campaign visit: https://www.seashepherd.org.uk/campaigns/operation-bloody-fjords/cruise-ship-companies-stand-up-for-dolphins-and-pilot-whales.html
Scuba Diving International (SDI) and Sea Shepherd team up to develop and launch the first accredited ‘GHOSTNET RECOVERY’ speciality course
PRESS RELEASE – 16th August 2019
Scuba Diving international are very proud to work with Sea Shepherd UK to develop a’ Ghostnet Recovery’ speciality course. Ghostnets are a huge problem in our oceans. Fishing nets, lines and pots are often lost by fisherman as part of their daily operations. These continue to catch fish and other marine life long after they have been lost. As divers we see the problems that this lost gear causes but we also have the opportunity to get involved in trying to clean up at least some of these lost nets.
The Sea Shepherd UK Ghostnet campaign has been incredibly successful in recovering large amounts of Ghostnets and gear as well as engaging in outreach and education on the issue. More and more divers want to get involved in the project - but there are significant risks in lifting Ghostnets and it is essential that proper training is provided before anyone attempts to lift a net or other lost/discarded fishing gear. By Sea Shepherd teaming up with SDI this allows specially trained instructors to provide a recognised training program which covers all of the surveying, lifting techniques and safety considerations required to perform this activity.
The SDI Sea Shepherd Ghostnet Recovery course has been developed with Sea Shepherd and active SDI instructors involved in the project and formalises the training program that has been delivered to already Sea Shepherd UK’s volunteer divers.
SDI is recognised worldwide and is a member of the WRSTC, RSTC-US, RSTC-Europe. It is accredited by the EUF as meeting all relevant EN and ISO standards. In addition, SDI was heavily involved in the creation of the new ISO standards on ‘Requirements for training on environmental awareness for recreational divers’ and ‘Requirements and guidance on sustainable practices in recreational diving’.
“Sea Shepherd is thrilled to be partnering with Scuba Diving International on this world’s first accredited ‘Ghostnet Retrieval’ speciality course. Our thanks goes especially to Tony Land (Sea Shepherd UK’s Ghostnet Campaign coordinator, dive instructor and technical diver), John Crawshaw (owner of Dive Manchester, SDI/TDI/PADI instructor) who have been working in cooperation with the renowned Mark Powell of DIVE-TECH who is a TDI Instructor, a member of TDI’s Global Training Advisor Panel, represents TDI on the British Diving Safety Group and on the HSE’s Recreational Diving Industry Committee – and is also a member of the Diver Training and Breathing Apparatus committees at the British Standards Institute” - Robert Read, Chief Operating Officer at Sea Shepherd UK
In January 2018 Sea Shepherd UK (marine conservation charity registration number 1110501) launched our Ghostnet Campaign to remove hazardous ghost fishing gear from coastal areas around England, Scotland and Wales.
Once lost or discarded, sections of fishing net and other fishing equipment can drift through the ocean or be left snagged on wrecks, rocks and reefs indiscriminately killing marine wildlife for decades.
Our Ghostnet campaign divers and crew work closely with the Marine Management Organisations and other relevant authorities in England, Scotland and Wales to ensure that ghost fishing equipment is removed safely, legally and without harm to the environment or wildlife.
Assigned year-round to the campaign are Sea Shepherd UK's RIBs:
‘Ghost’ - a twin 115hp engine 7.4m Atlantic 75
‘Phantom’ - a single 115hp engine 5.8m Humber Destroyer
with 'Siren' - a single 90hp engine 5.5m Humber Destroyer (in reserve)
All three boats are fitted with 3D structure scan sonar to pinpoint wrecks and to help identify and locate objects on or above the seafloor.
If you are a diver interested in joining Sea Shepherd UK’s Ghostnet campaign crew and would like to be accredited by SDI on this new speciality, or if you can donate a boat or dive equipment to the campaign - please contact Tony on: [email protected]
The student pre-requisites for the SDI Sea Shepherd Ghostnet Retrieval speciality course are:
- SDI Advanced Adventurer (or equivalent)
- Minimum age 21
- Documented proof of 100 logged dives
Read more about Scuba Diving International (SDI), the Scuba training and certification agency at:
View photos from the campaign at:
Follow the new campaign page on Facebook at:
If you can - please help support Sea Shepherd UK campaigns and boats by donating to our charity at: https://www.seashepherd.org.uk/support-us/donate-monthly.html
Forest Green Rovers have unveiled a striking new third kit for their cup games, inspired by Sea Shepherd – and to help raise vital funds for our work.
Omar Todd, Global Director of Special Operations and Rob Read, Chief Operating Officer of Sea Shepherd UK visited the club this week to meet Dale Vince, the Chairman of the club and Patron of Sea Shepherd UK, to celebrate the launch.
Why Forest Green Rovers has done this:
Forest Green Rovers is recognised as the “world’s greenest football club” by FIFA and likes to do things differently, with protecting the planet being at its core – as well as playing great football, of course!
Forest Green’s kits have proudly displayed Sea Shepherd’s iconic Jolly Roger logo since 2014 – and its flags have flown at The New Lawn Stadium over every game since.
This move is yet another step in the Forest Green Rovers mission to show the world of sport that there is ‘another way’, with all proceeds from the sales of this kit worldwide coming directly to Sea Shepherd – continuing our decade long relationship with Dale.
About the kit
This new strip has been created by PlayerLayer - using revolutionary 50% bamboo material, and the design having been inspired by the dazzle camouflage paintjob on Sea Shepherd’s vessel, the Steve Irwin and previously on the Bob Barker.
Where you’ll see it first
FGR will be wearing the kit in cup matches this season. Its maiden voyage will be the club’s Carabao Cup game against Charlton Athletic on Tuesday, 13th August.
How this will help Sea Shepherd
Dale Vince, chairman of Forest Green Rovers:
“Sea Shepherd are an amazing organisation, they’ve dedicated so much, often taking great risks - been shot at, had boats rammed and sunk - in the fight to save the lives of whales and marine life more generally. They prove that peaceful direct action, with emphasis on the action - gets results. This new shirt is to celebrate and support their work.”
Rob Read, Chief Operations Officer, Sea Shepherd UK:
“I can’t thank Dale and Forest Green Rovers enough for this hugely generous support for Sea Shepherd's marine conservation campaigns. This striking new FGR shirt launches during our latest campaign in the Faroe Islands, exposing to the world the continued barbaric hunting of over 800 Pilot Whales and Dolphins each year and our work legally and with targeted new pressure tactics to end these hunts.
“Back here in the UK the proceeds from the sale of the shirts will also be used to both upgrade our fleet of small boats used in particular on our rapidly developing 'Ghostnet Campaign' and on equipment for our 'Marine Debris Campaign'. So, many thanks to all FGR and Sea Shepherd supporters who buy one of these shirts. Your support really will help protect the oceans - and you’ll look very cool too!”
How to get hold of the kit
To pre-order your shirt visit here. Shipping worldwide begins from 19th August.
Supporting the club
If you would like to support Forest Green Rovers at their matches throughout the season, their fixtures list is here.
In addition, the club will be running a special ‘Sea Shepherd themed match’ - when playing Cheltenham at home on Saturday March 28th, 2020. More details are to follow.
Thanks for supporting us if you choose to buy this kit. We look forward to spotting you in the crowd!
Over 150 Fin Whales Spared from Slaughter in 2019.
Reykjavik, Iceland – June 8th, 2019 – In a significant win for cetaceans, the government of Iceland has not issued a permit to allow Hvalur Hf to hunt fin whales this year, sparing over 150 whales from slaughter. The Fisheries Minister published regulations setting whaling quotas in February but did not actually issue the permit to Hvalur allowing it to use the quota.
Sea Shepherd closely monitored Hvalur’s activities in 2018, documenting the death of at least 146 whales, including two rare blue/fin hybrid whales as well as 21 pregnant whales. During the 2018 season and in past years, the whaling company has violated numerous regulations – all of which have now been brought to the attention of the Icelandic government.
The Icelandic government has also been made aware of a new scientific study, indicating its whaling quotas are based on grossly overestimated whale population assessments.
Reached in New York, on World Ocean’s Day, Sea Shepherd Founder Captain Paul Watson proclaimed, “Sea Shepherd has an enduring commitment to defending whales. Our primary objective is 100% eradication of the barbaric practice of murdering whales by anyone, anywhere, for any reason.”
Hvalur Hf, is currently under investigation for violating animal welfare and sanitation regulations as well as deliberately failing to provide whaling logs to Icelandic fishing authorities in contravention of the whaling regulations, among other infringements.
Unfortunately, the government of Iceland has been slow to review and penalize Hvalur for its transgressions, forcing interest groups to submit a petition to the Icelandic Althing Ombudsman (an agency action oversight body that conducts Mueller-type investigations) to open an investigation into the administrative failures of the Icelandic government in adequately policing whaling.
The Icelandic government is not at liberty to issue any permits to Hvalur Hf until all ongoing legal matters surrounding the company’s whaling activities are resolved.
“Given Hvalur’s long history of violations, the fact that whaling is an inhumane and archaic practice that most Icelanders oppose, and the fact Fin whales are protected under CITES, it would be unconscionable and reckless for the Icelandic government to ever issue fin whaling permits again” stated Captain Lockhart Maclean, Sea Shepherd’s Director of Marine Operations.
Sea Shepherd has been actively opposed to Icelandic whaling for over 30 years, including
successfully shutting down Hvalur’s illegal whaling operations for 17 years with the sinking of half its fleet in 1986.
Sea Shepherd’s interceptor vessel, the M/V Brigitte Bardot will be departing Halifax, Canada, for Iceland this week to monitor a planned commercial minke whale hunt, scheduled to take place later in June on board the whaling vessel Hrafnreydur, a non Hvalur owned vessel, which slaughtered six minke whales last summer.
Sea Shepherd Announces a New Campaign to Expose Illegal Whaling by the Notorious Captain Ahab of Iceland.
Sea Shepherd Iceland in partnership with Sea Shepherd U.K. and Sea Shepherd France are sending the Brigitte Bardot to Iceland this summer to document the illegal and barbaric operations of Kristján Loftsson and his two pirate whaling ships ‘Hvalur 8’ and ‘Hvalur 9’.
Last summer (2018) Sea Shepherd UK’s crew on Operation Mjolnir documented the slaughter of 144 Fin whales, one highly endangered Blue whale and another rare Blue/Fin hybrid.
Kristján Loftsson framed by the huge jawbone of a harpooned fin whale. Photo: Sea Shepherd UK
This summer the Brigitte Bardot will patrol alongside the whaling ships to document, live-stream video, and film using drones, 24 hours per day, the atrocities of the harpoon vessels, as they hunt for Fin whales, miles off the West coast of Iceland.
Armed with cameras and drones, the crew of the Brigitte Bardot will focus international attention on Loftsson’s illicit operations by live streaming his activities.
Operation Northern Exposure will be a campaign in which Loftsson’s ships and crew will never be physically touched or interfered with in any way - BUT it will be a campaign in which their every action will be documented and live-streamed in a new global exposure and social media campaign.
The killing of whales by Iceland’s Kristján Loftsson will no longer continue out of sight and out of mind.
The people of Iceland do not support whaling. The children of Iceland do not support whaling. The children of the world do not support whaling. The people of the world do not support whaling. The visitors who come to Iceland to experience the beauty and uniqueness of Iceland do not support whaling.
Sea Shepherd believes that the camera is our most powerful weapon. The world and the people of Iceland will see the horrific brutality of Kristján Loftsson’s whale killing and hear the pitiful and agonizing screams of endangered Fin whales as their bodies are viciously shattered by explosive harpoons.
One man is responsible for this death and cruelty.
To make a donation to our campaigns to end whaling visit:
Hvalur 8 drags two harpooned Fin whales into Hvalfjörður. Photo: Sea Shepherd UK
An Endangered Fin whale is dragged up the slipway at the whaling station at Miðsandur on the North side of Hvalfjörður, Iceland. Photo: Sea Shepherd UK
The dead fetus of a Fin whale is dragged out of public view during the butchering of it’s harpooned mother at the whaling station at Miðsandur [Sea Shepherd UK – 2018]
The Icelandic whaling company ‘Hvalur hf’ operates a large shore based whaling station at Miðsandur on the North side of Hvalfjörður and two old Norwegian built whaling ships, Hvalur 8 (built in 1948) and Hvalur 9 (built in 1952).
Hvalur hf's CEO is multi-millionnaire fishing magnate and second-generation whaler Kristján Loftsson. Loftsson's company is notorious for exclusively hunting protected Fin whales, the second largest animal on the planet after the Blue whale.
In 2018 Sea Shepherd UK launched Operation Mjolnir - the most comprehensive land based campaign to document and expose Icelandic whaling. For more information, images and video from the campaign visit: https://www.seashepherd.org.uk/campaigns/operation-mjolnir/
Sea Shepherd’s Statement on Japan’s Decision to Commercially Slaughter Whales.
Photo Credit: Sea Shepherd & Barbara Veiga
Los Angeles, California – December 26th, 2018 – Since 2002, Sea Shepherd has opposed Japanese whaling operations in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary with expeditions to Antarctic waters first in 2002 followed by continuous campaigns from 2005 until 2017.
During this period over 6,000 whales were saved from the harpoons of Japanese commercial whalers posing as research whalers by Sea Shepherd interventions.
In 2017, the Japanese government began to invest millions of dollars in security efforts to prevent Sea Shepherd from engaging their fleets. These security measures included military grade real time surveillance.
Although this prevented Sea Shepherd from returning to the Southern Ocean in 2018, it also placed Japan in a position of expending huge resources on continuous security.
In other words, the cost of preventing Sea Shepherd intervention became very expensive.
This and the verdict of the International Court of Justice that exposed Japanese research as fraudulent, coupled with worldwide condemnation of their Southern Ocean activities has in the opinion of Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd led to this decision to declare they will openly undertake commercial whaling activities.
The scheme to pose as researchers will now be dropped and that means there can be absolutely no justification for hunting whales in an internationally established whale sanctuary. This will be the last year of Japanese whaling activities in the Southern Ocean.
Sea Shepherd’s objective of ending the slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary has been realized. This is a victory for the campaign to make the Southern Ocean a whaling free zone.
Photo Credit: Sea Shepherd & Marianna Baldo
If Japan decides to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) it will allow the IWC to pass the motion to establish the South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary thus effectively ending whaling in the Southern Hemisphere.
Japan will now join Norway and Iceland as rogue outlaw whaling nations in the North Pacific and the North Atlantic.
The Whale Wars in the Southern Ocean will soon be over. The focus now must be the Northern Hemisphere.
Sea Shepherd welcomes this announcement by Japan and views it as a positive development.
Captain Paul Watson issued a statement saying, “We are delighted to see the end of whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. We are delighted that we will soon have a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary and we look forward to continuing to oppose the three remaining pirate whaling nations of Norway, Japan and Iceland. Whaling as a ‘legal’ industry has ended. All that remains is to mop up the pirates.”
The owner and captain of the Malaysian-flagged fishing vessel (F/V) Buah Naga 1 that was boarded and arrested by Tanzanian law enforcement agents as part of Operation Jodari have pleaded guilty to the charge of Unlawful Possession of Shark Fins in a plea agreement with Tanzanian prosecutors.
Captain of the Buah Naga 1 and Tanzanian Police Inspector during January 25th arrest. Photo Jax Oliver/Sea Shepherd.
The captain, Mr. Han Ming Chuan of a Taiwan, has been in custody since January 2018 when he was charged with five crimes: Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Acts, Unlawful Possession of Shark Fins, Pollution of the Marine Environment, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and Unlawful Possession of Ammunition. The owner, Mr. Dato Seri Lee Yee Jiat, and agent, Mr. Abubakar Salum Hassan, joined the F/V Buah Naga 1 in police custody after they were subsequently arrested in June.
On December 4th the defendants reached a plea agreement with the Tanzanian Director of Public Prosecutions to avoid trial, pleading guilty to one of the five charges: Unlawful Possession of Shark Fins.
The High Court of Tanzania sentenced the three defendants to twenty years imprisonment or a fine of one billion Tanzanian Shillings ($435,000 USD). All three have been remanded to Lilungu Prison in Mtwara to begin serving their custodial sentences. If the fine is paid then the sentence will be suspended.
The High Court has handed over the seized shark fins to the Tanzanian Deep Sea Fishing Authority for destruction. The F/V Bua Naga 1 remains in in Mtwara.
When the F/V Buah Naga 1 was first boarded on January 25th by Tanzanian law enforcement agents working on board the Sea Shepherd vessel M/Y Ocean Warrior, inspectors discovered that the vessel was carrying an illegal cargo of shark fins. An unlicensed firearm, a 9mm Beretta pistol, was found in the captain’s cabin. According to the Indonesian fishers working on board, the firearm was regularly used to threaten them to work. If no fish was caught, then the Indonesian crew would not be fed.
“Sea Shepherd applauds the Tanzanian government for the successful prosecution of the F/V Buah Naga 1 and for the strong message of deterrence that the Tanzanian High Court has sent to shark fin poachers everywhere. As shark populations plummet globally, Tanzania is rising as an international leader in the fight against illegal fishing." --Peter Hammarstedt, Director of Campaigns for Sea Shepherd Global
Operation Jodari is a joint partnership between Sea Shepherd, Fish-i Africa and the government of Tanzania to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
RELATED ARTICLE: "Sea Shepherd Launches Operation Jodari with Tanzania, Makes First three Arrests" (Feb 5, 2018)
RELATED ARTICLE: “LEGAL UPDATE: Two More Arrests in Tanzanian Illegal Fishing Investigation” (June 5, 2018)
The small boat of Sea Shepherd's Ocean Warrior brings Tanzanian Marines to the Buah Naga 1 for inspection. Photo by Jax Oliver/Sea Shepherd.