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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 

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)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 amWhaling 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.

 

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.

16th August - Hvannasund grindadrap - 87 long finned pilot whales and 12 Atlantic White Sided DolphinsHvannasund 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 2018Atlantic 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 PFD

 

Further information:

  • 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

 

Stacey DooleyEnglish 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:
https://www.seashepherd.org.uk/campaigns/operation-bloody-fjords/

Scuba Diving International (SDI) and Sea Shepherd team up to develop and launch the first accredited ‘GHOSTNET RECOVERY’ speciality course

SDIPRESS RELEASE – 16th August 2019 Operation Ghostnet

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’.

 

SDI Ghostnet Speciality 1 SDI Ghostnet Speciality 2

 “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

 

Further Information:

SDI Ghostnet Speciality 3In 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

LINKS:

Read more about Scuba Diving International (SDI), the Scuba training and certification agency at:

https://www.tdisdi.com/sdi

View photos from the campaign at:

https://seashepherduk.myportfolio.com/uk-2018-ghostnet-campaign

Follow the new campaign page on Facebook at:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/ghostnetcampaign

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

 

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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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