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In less than two days, armed Sierra Leone Navy sailors stationed on board the Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker carried out a series of covert at-sea raids on fishing vessels in the waters of the West African country of Sierra Leone, arresting five trawlers for illegal fishing.

Captain Peter Hammarstedt and Sierra Leone Navy on board arrested trawlerCaptain Peter Hammarstedt and Sierra Leone Navy on board arrested trawler

In the early morning hours of the 14th of March, two trawlers that had spent the night anchored outside of an inshore exclusion zone (IEZ) reserved for artisanal fishermen were detected by radar making way into the protected area with their nets in the water. Two rigid hull inflatable boats from Bob Barker transported a law enforcement detachment of Sierra Leone Navy sailors who surprised, boarded and arrested the fishing vessels Friendship 806 and Friendship 888 in waters saturated with small-scale fishing pirogues, approximately one nautical mile inside the IEZ. Both trawlers were fishing without a license and were transmitting false electronic identifying information, one of them was appropriating the identity of another vessel fishing over 7,000 nautical miles away in the Pacific Ocean.

Sierra Leone Navy on board Sea Shepherd small boat Sierra Leone Navy on board Sea Shepherd small boat

In Sierra Leone, more than 200,000 people work in small-scale fisheries. To safeguard the environment and to protect the livelihoods of local fishers, the government of Sierra Leone instituted an IEZ where industrial and semi-industrial fishing is strictly forbidden. However, due to challenges of monitoring, control and surveillance, local fishermen report that trawlers routinely run over their canoes and nets as fish populations also decline.

Liao Dan Yu 6618 arrested for fishing without a licenseLiao Dan Yu 6618 arrested for fishing without a license

On the morning of the 15th of March, Jianmei 3 was arrested at anchor off the port of Kent on the Freetown Penninsula. Nights previously, the trawler had been documented fishing about six nautical miles inside the IEZ, just outside a marine protected area designated to conserve spawning fish. When boarded the crew were busy dismantling fishing gear, taking apart winches and trawling equipment to give inspectors the impression that the vessel had not been fishing for some time. A fishing logbook confiscated by the Sierra Leone Navy boarding team showed Jianmei 3 systematically fishing inside the IEZ on forty-four documented occasions. Jianmei 3 was arrested, placed under armed guard and brought back to Freetown. Last year, its two sister ships—Jianmei 1 and Jianmei 4—were arrested for illegal fishing and absconded from detention. Both vessels are still wanted by authorities in Sierra Leone.

Illegal catch on board arrested trawlerIllegal catch on board arrested trawler

Hours after the apprehension of Jianmei 3, two Chinese-flagged trawlers—Liao Dan Yu 6616 and Liao Dan Yu 6618—were arrested for fishing without a license. Liao Dan Yu 6618 was carrying two separate sets of registration documents and the captain was attempting to destroy evidence when the Sierra Leone Navy breached the wheelhouse. The captain was trying to shred proof that his fishing license had been expired for one month.

Sierra Leone Navy boarding Jianmei 3Sierra Leone Navy boarding Jianmei 3

“After the arrest of Liao Dan Yu 6616 and Liao Dan Yu 6618, the remaining eleven vessels belonging to the same fleet all set course for Freetown to avoid inspections. Vessels from other fleets also retreated to safe harbor when they received news that a patrol was underway. It is the belief of Sea Shepherd and the Sierra Leone Navy that none of them had valid fishing licenses”, said Captain Peter Hammarstedt, Sea Shepherd’s Director of Campaigns.

Friendship 888 and 806 caught inside protected areaFriendship 888 and 806 caught inside protected area

The arrest of five trawlers in the waters of Sierra Leone marks the start of Operation Sierra Leone Coastal Defense, Sea Shepherd’s eighth government partnership on the continent of Africa.

Under the leadership of Sierra Leone’s Minister of Defense and National Security, the Honorable Brigadier General (Rtd) Kellie Conteh, Sea Shepherd is supporting the Sierra Leone Navy to conduct patrols at-sea to combat illegal fishing through the assistance of Sea Shepherd crew and the Sea Shepherd vessel Bob Barker.

Sierra Leone Navy boards Liao Dan Yu 6618Sierra Leone Navy boards Liao Dan Yu 6618

“The Ministry of Defense and National Security will act decisively against any violators of Sierra Leone’s sovereign laws. These fishing vessels are plundering our waters, stealing from local fishermen and the people of Sierra Leone. These five arrests send the strong message that if you are caught fishing without a license then you will be arrested by the Sierra Leone Navy and you will be prosecuted to the furthest extent of the law”, said Hon. Brigadier General (Rtd) Kellie Coneth.

Sierra Leone Navy on board Sea Shepherd small boatSierra Leone Navy on board Sea Shepherd small boat

Since 2016, Sea Shepherd has also been working in partnership with the governments of Gabon, Liberia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tanzania, Namibia, The Gambia and Benin to combat fisheries crime by providing the use of civilian offshore patrol vessels to African coastal and island States so that authorities can enforce fisheries regulations and conservation laws in their sovereign waters. To date, the unique partnerships have resulted in the arrest of 67 vessels for illegal fishing and other fisheries crimes.

Photos by Alice Gregoire/Sea Shepherd

Sierra Leone Navy arrests trawlers inside protected areaSierra Leone Navy arrests trawlers inside protected area

Sierra Leone Navy sailor on board arrested trawlerSierra Leone Navy sailor on board arrested trawler

Jianmei 3 arrested in the port of KentJianmei 3 arrested in the port of Kent

Sierra Leone Navy on board arrested Liao Dan Yu 6618Sierra Leone Navy on board arrested Liao Dan Yu 6618

Sierra Leone Navy on board arrested Liao Dan Yu 6618Sierra Leone Navy on board arrested Liao Dan Yu 6618

 Local fishermen off the coast of Sierra LeoneLocal fishermen off the coast of Sierra Leone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bloody FjordsEvery year in the Faroe Islands around 850 small cetaceans, primarily long finned pilot whales and Atlantic white-sided dolphins, are cruelly killed in dolphin drive hunts called ‘grindadráp’ in Faroese.

Sea Shepherd was first activist group in the Faroes in 1983, with further direct-action campaigns in 1985, 1986, 2000, 2011, 2014 and 2015. Then due to vessel restrictions directed at Sea Shepherd as well as new Faroese legislation preventing interventions from any activists against the grindadrap - Sea Shepherd UK launched ‘Operation Bloody Fjords’ with land-based crew being sent to the islands every year since 2016 to investigate, document and expose the barbaric hunts to the world to bring pressure on the Faroese to finally end the grindadráp.

During 2020 our ground crew patrolled for over 2 months when COVID-19 travel restrictions were eventually lifted. Operation Bloody Fjords over recent years has generated many hundreds of international online and printed news articles, as well as featuring in radio and TV programs. However, the Danish Media rarely reported on the dolphin killings around the Faroe Islands, so Sea Shepherd UK and Sea Shepherd Scandinavia reached out to respected and recognised Danish activists to join the campaign and we were very pleased to have nine Danish activists last year in the Faroe Islands working alongside our UK volunteers.

Pilot whales killed at Hvannasund on the 16th August 2018 (photo - Sea Shepherd UK)

There were no grindadrap hunts while our crews patrolled in August and September (typically the peak months for grindadrap hunts). However, three grindadrap hunts did happen during despite COVID lockdowns or physical distancing restrictions in the Faroes while pilot whales were killed during a tagging exercise and two small pods of Northern Bottlenose whales were killed after they stranded. The total of cetaceans killed in 2020 was 539 long finned pilot whales, 35 Atlantic white sided dolphins and 11 Northern bottlenose whales during the following:

  • 18 long finned pilot whales killed during a shambolic scientific tagging exercise on the 6th June at Bour.
  • 252 long finned pilot whales and 35 Atlantic white sided dolphins killed in a grindadrap hunt on 15th July at Hvalba.
  • 193 long finned pilot whales killed in a grindadrap hunt on 30th July at Sandur.
  • 6 Northern Bottlenose Whales were killed on the 17th August at Sandvik after they stranded.
  • 5 Northern Bottlenose Whales were killed after they stranded which our crew filmed and livestreamed online on 19th August at Hvalba.
  • 66 long finned pilot whales were killed in a grindadrap hunt on 16th October at Hvalvik

Sea Shepherd’s determination to end the grindadrap now continues with the 6th year of ‘Operation Bloody Fjords’ - our 13th campaign season on the Faroe Islands with more Danish and Scandinavian crew than ever before.

During 2020 (thanks especially to our Danish crew) we started to find we have new signs of support in the Faroe Islands, not only against the grindadrap hunts but also for other Sea Shepherd campaigns around the world.  This year our volunteer crew will do everything we can to engage with and encourage more Faroese citizens to speak out against the hunts, to support Sea Shepherd campaigns around the world, and look towards establishing, hopefully in the near future a ‘Sea Shepherd Faroe Islands’ chapter.

Sea Shepherd also continues our campaign for international pressure on the Faroe Islands to end the pilot whale and dolphin hunts. We call upon both compassionate citizens and companies to boycott especially Faroese seafood products, for tourists to choose more whale and dolphin friendly destinations, and for Cruise Ship Companies to reconsider any future visits to the islands until the grindadráp hunts are ended forever.

Grindadrap at Hvalvik of Atlantic White Sided Dolphins on 11th September 2018 (Photo – Sea Shepherd UK)Grindadrap at Hvalvik of Atlantic White Sided Dolphins on 11th September 2018 (Photo – Sea Shepherd UK)

 

Further information on the Faroese Grindadráp hunts:

The grindadráp (or ‘grind’ as the hunts are commonly called) can happen at any time at any of the 26 designated killing bays around the islands, with most of the hunts occurring between June and September. 

The grindadráp has no quota and the Faroese rarely do not authorize a hunt when a pod is spotted near the coastline. The hunts are merciless as every member of the pod is killed including pregnant mothers, juveniles, and weaning calves. The grindadráp would be totally illegal under European Union legislation, because in the EU (including the kingdom of Denmark) is illegal to kill, harass or stress any cetaceans. Despite the Kingdom of Denmark being in the EU, the Faroe Islands is not, although the islands are within Europe and benefits substantially from subsidies of around $100million (USD equivalent) from Denmark as well as having free trade agreements with the EU.

The pilot whale meat which is contaminated by DDT, PCB and industrial heavy metal pollutants including mercury - poisons not only the Faroese people, but also tourists. The hunts are fully sanctioned by the Faroese government, defended by the Kingdom of Denmark (via the Danish Navy, Police and Court systems) and is continued as little more than a national sport poorly justified with arguments of sustainability, history and culture. 

Due to its lucrative fishing and fish farming industries, the Faroese economy has prospered with the islanders per capita GDP comparable with other wealthy Scandinavian countries and comprehensive year-round imports of food and commodities from around the world. The current unemployment level is just 1.7% with near zero poverty recorded in the Faroes - yet still the islands still receive an annual subsidy from Denmark equivalent to $100m (USD). 

“The grindadráp is a barbaric relic of a bygone age. A needless hunt of hundreds of pilot whales and dolphins which should have ended a century ago which is not needed to feed anyone on the islands” -

Robert Read, COO at Sea Shepherd UK.

 

The web pages for Operation Bloody Fjords are at: https://www.seashepherd.org.uk/campaigns/operation-bloody-fjords/ 

The Facebook page for the campaign is at: 
https://www.facebook.com/OpBloodyFjords/  

Please help support Sea Shepherd UK’s campaigns in the Faroe Islands by donating to our charity at:  https://www.seashepherd.org.uk/support-us/donate-monthly.html 

Operation Bloody FjordsEvery year in the Faroe Islands around 850 small cetaceans, primarily long finned pilot whales and Atlantic white-sided dolphins, are cruelly killed in dolphin drive hunts called ‘grindadráp’ in Faroese.

Sea Shepherd was first activist group in the Faroes in 1983, with further direct action campaigns in 1985, 1986, 2000, 2011, 2014 and 2015. Then in reaction to newly imposed boat restrictions directed at Sea Shepherd and legislation preventing many direct action tactics - Sea Shepherd UK launched ‘Operation Bloody Fjords’ with land based crew being sent to the islands every year since 2016 to investigate, document and expose the barbaric hunts to the world to bring pressure on the Faroese to end the grindadráp.

Sea Shepherd’s determination to end the grindadrap now continues with ‘Operation Bloody Fjords 2020’ -  our 12th campaign in the Faroes with crew already based on the islands since 1st August after COVID-19 travel restrictions were eased.

Operation Bloody Fjords over recent years has generated many hundreds of international online and printed news articles, as well as featuring in radio and TV programs.
However this year Sea Shepherd are engaging the typically resistant/hesitant Danish Media who rarely report on the dolphin killings in the Faroes.

Earlier this summer, Sea Shepherd began to reach out to respected and recognised Danish activists to join the campaign to end the dolphin hunts and we are very pleased to announce a significant number of Danes have joined our crew this year in the Faroe Islands!

Sea Shepherd UK and Sea Shepherd Scandinavia also invited Michael Monberg, Founder and Chairman of the recently validated ‘Veganerpartiet’ (Vegan Party) to investigate the cruelty of the grindadráp with the aim of raising the issue in the Danish political agenda and ultimately with the Danish Parliament. Michael has been present on the Faroes islands since 2nd August talking both with local Faroese citizens and to the  Danish media and public.

Veganerpartiet have released a video in Danish which can be viewed here:

and Veganerpartiet have a press release in 3 languages (click to view)

 

Sea Shepherd UK continues our campaign for international pressure on the Faroe Islands to end the pilot whale and dolphin hunts. We call upon both compassionate citizens and companies to boycott especially Faroese seafood products, for tourists to choose more whale and dolphin friendly destinations, and for Cruise Ship Companies to reconsider any future visits to the islands until the grindadráp hunts are ended forever.

Atlantic white sided dolphins killed at Hvalvik on the 11th September 2018  [Photo: Sea Shepherd UK]Atlantic white sided dolphins killed at Hvalvik on the 11th September 2018 [Photo: Sea Shepherd UK]

 

Further information on the Faroese Grindadráp hunts:

The grindadráp (or ‘grind’ as the hunts are commonly called) can happen at any time at any of the 26 designated killi­­­ng bays around the islands, with most of the hunts occurring between June and September.

The grindadráp has no quota and the Faroese rarely do not authorize a hunt when a pod is spotted near the coastline. The hunts are merciless as every member of the pod is killed including pregnant mothers, juveniles, and weaning calves. The grindadráp would be totally illegal under European Union legislation, because in the EU (including the kingdom of Denmark) is illegal to kill, harass or stress any cetaceans. Despite the Kingdom of Denmark being in the EU, the Faroe Islands is not, although the islands are within Europe and benefits substantially from subsidies of around $100million (USD equivalent) from Denmark as well s having free trade agreements with the EU.

The pilot whale meat which is contaminated by DDT, PCB and industrial heavy metal pollutants including mercury - poisons not only the Faroese people, but also tourists. The hunts are fully sanctioned by the Faroese government, defended by the Kingdom of Denmark (via the Danish Navy, Police and Court systems) and is continued as little more than a national sport poorly justified with arguments of sustainability, history and culture.

Due to its lucrative fishing and fish farming industries, the Faroese economy has prospered with the islanders per capita GDP comparable with other wealthy Scandinavian countries and comprehensive year-round imports of food and commodities from around the world. The current unemployment level is just 1.7% with near zero poverty recorded in the Faroes - yet still the islands still receive an annual subsidy from Denmark equivalent to $100m (USD).

The grindadráp is a barbaric relic of a bygone age. A needless hunt of hundreds of pilot whales and dolphins which should have ended a century ago which is not needed to feed anyone on the islands.


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For more information, or for press enquiries please contact Sea Shepherd UK on: media@seashepherduk.org

The web pages for Operation Bloody Fjords are at: https://www.seashepherd.org.uk/campaigns/operation-bloody-fjords/ and the social media page for the campaign is at: https://www.facebook.com/OpBloodyFjords/
You can also view photos and videos from Sea Shepherd UK’s campaigns including the last 4 years of Operation Bloody Fjords at: https://seashepherduk.myportfolio.com/

Sea Shepherd UK can be followed at https://www.facebook.com/SeaShepherdUK

Veganerpartiet (Denmark) can be contacted and followed via: https://vgpt.dk/ on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/veganerpartiet/

Please help support Sea Shepherd UK’s campaigns in the Faroe Islands by donating to our charity:

DONATE NOW

SSUK Education school speakerSea Shepherd UK is excited to launch our new Education Site, showcasing a growing library of both teacher resources and student self-led activities. From UK-wide competitions to informative student-friendly videos, Sea Shepherd UK’s Education Site aims to broaden the message of marine conservation and protection within the UK’s education framework.

Created by Sea Shepherd UK’s own volunteer team made up of teachers and experienced Sea Shepherd activists - Sea Shepherd UK’s Education Site is designed to complement the UK school curriculum for all key stages. Our teacher resources link to both the national curriculum and exam boards to ensure that information is relevant for the classroom while our student activities offer a wide array of self-led tasks for pupils to learn about the vast marine ecosystem and Sea Shepherd campaigns in a child-friendly manner.

The education site also can be used to book a speaker for in-person or remote talks or debates to discuss Sea Shepherd’s campaigns or marine conservation issues relevant to individual Key Stages. From GCSE Biology or Geography to Key Stage 1 information of the food chain and marine pollution, our speakers will work with you to develop talks and activities to fit your curriculum and audience.

Are you a teacher and interested in sharing your passion for marine conservation?
Arm yourself with first-hand information about environmental issues and marine conservation using Sea Shepherd UK’s ever-growing resource bank on our Education Site at: https://education.seashepherd.org.uk/
Keep up to date by signing up to our quarterly Education Newsletter so you will be notified of new resources, competitions and student-friendly news related to marine conservation and protection.

Young Sea Shepherd Pirates!
Pillage the ever-growing selection of activities, take part in our competitions, and learn about our precious seas with our videos!

Rebecca Powell
Sea Shepherd UK Education Project coordinator
Email: education@seashepherduk.org

SSUK education artwork Camilo age 10 Haywards Heath

Introducing 'SHADOW' Sea Shepherd UK's latest addition to our RIB fleetSea 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 

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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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