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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.”

SEA SHEPHERD ISLANDIA

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 UKKristján 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:
https://donorbox.org/sea-shepherd-uk-whale-dolphin-campaigns

Hvalur 8 drags two harpooned Fin whales into Hvalfjörður.  Photo: Sea Shepherd UKHvalur 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 UKAn 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 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]

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Further information:

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/

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. 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. 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.

Sea Shepherd’s Statement on Japan’s Decision to Commercially Slaughter Whales.

Sea Shepherd Paul Watson Nisshin MaruPhoto 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 BaldoPhoto 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.”

M/Y Steve Irwin

Sea Shepherd’s flagship vessel the M/Y Steve Irwin has conducted multiple campaigns in defense of the world’s oceans, from protecting pilot whales in the Faroes, blue fin tuna in the Mediterranean, and humpback whales off the Kimberley coast, to shutting down six illegal Chinese drift-netters in the South Indian Ocean, and six illegal tooth fish poachers in the Southern Ocean.

Not least, it has conducted nine Antarctic whale defence campaigns in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary helping save over 6,000 whales from the illegal Japanese whaling fleet. The Steve Irwin has safeguarded one of the last large intact marine ecosystems on the planet in the Great Australian Bight (knocking out BP and Chevron), most recently visiting the Great Barrier Reef in opposition of the Adani coal mine.

Prior to Sea Shepherd obtaining the M/Y Steve Irwin, it served as a Scottish fisheries patrol vessel, built in 1975. So, in essence, the Steve has been defending marine wildlife its whole life. Sea Shepherd has always taken great pride and appreciation in getting permission from the Irwin family to rename our ship the Steve Irwin back in 2007, in continuing the legacy and honoring Australia’s great wildlife warrior.

Sadly, our Steve is at the end of its life and we need to retire the vessel. We have reached out to many organisations and governments to look at options such as turning the Steve into a dive site or donating it to a maritime museum.  However, with none of these options eventuating or being practical, the Steve Irwin will be recycled. 

Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson, stated: “On December 7, 2007, Teri Irwin and I launched the M/V Steve Irwin, a vessel that would be our flagship for the next decade. It has been my honor to have been captain of this vessel for so many successful high seas campaigns. The lives we have saved and the difference we have made with this vessel has been awesome. We worked the ship hard, through horrific storms and crushing ice and after eleven years, our engineers have determined that the Steve Irwin is no longer safe for sea.

"It is simply not wise to risk the lives of our crew beyond the boundaries of practicality. Despite the many risks we have taken over the years we have learned when to hold a ship and when to retire a ship and regrettably the time to retire the Steve Irwin is now. Battle scarred and damaged, regrettably she must be retired, but the memories, the campaign victories and the lives saved will be the lasting legacy of a ship that was as valiant and courageous as her namesake."

Captain Alex Cornelissen, CEO of Sea Shepherd Global, stated: “I will always remember the first voyage of the Steve Irwin (called the Robert Hunter at that time), after having found the vessel in Rosyth, Scotland we prepared the ship for active service in Neptune’s Navy. We sailed down the Atlantic and through the Straights of Magellan to the first Antarctic anti-whaling campaign in which we had a speed advantage over the whalers. The Steve Irwin was the game changer and stood at the base of Sea Shepherd’s following Antarctic campaigns, saving over 6,000 whales."

Jeff Hansen, Managing Director, Sea Shepherd Australia stated: “Having sailed six campaigns personally on the Irwin, I have many fond priceless experiences and cherished memories that I take with me to the grave. So, it’s with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to our flagship the Steve Irwin, for the Steve has facilitated Sea Shepherd in creating lasting victories and legacies for our oceans. A global and Australian iconic vessel that has defended whales off the Kimberley, the Great Australian Bight, the Great Barrier Reef and off Antarctica," Jeff continued. 

"The Steve Irwin’s final journey will be to a Hong Kong Convention approved scrapping facility, meaning it meets international labor and environmental regulations. In essence, Sea Shepherd was able to further extend the life of the Irwin from a Scottish Fisheries patrol vessel to today since we purchased it back in 2007. Now in line with Sea Shepherd’s environmental ethics and standards the Irwin will be recycled.

“Sea Shepherd would like to thank and acknowledge all the wonderful people around the world that over the years volunteered, supported and funded the Steve Irwin on its vital global missions, that had a piece of their hearts filled with the hope and courage that the Steve represented, and with each campaign Sea Shepherd sailed in defense of the oceans, our supporters spirits always sailed with us.

"Together, with the Steve Irwin, we have made history, saving hundreds of thousands of marine animals in defense of our oceans, humanity's primary life support."

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Sea Shepherd news articles from 2012 and earlier.

For articles from 2013 and newer, visit our Sea Shepherd News page.

 
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