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For articles from 2012 or earlier, visit our News archive.

 

Dutch Postcode Lottery Supports Sea Shepherd with €900,000

Sea Shepherd Netherlands Director Geert Vons and Sea Shepherd Global Executive Officer Captain Alex Cornelissen were presented with a check for €900,000 at the annual Goed Geld Gala of the Dutch Postcode Lottery held last week in the Royal Theater Carré in Amsterdam. To date, Sea Shepherd has received €16.5 million from the Dutch Postcode Lottery, funds that greatly benefit Sea Shepherd’s global campaigns.

Sea Shepherd Launches Operation Jodari with Tanzania, Makes First Three ArrestsAfter completing a covert 20-day patrol resulting in the arrest of three vessels for fisheries crimes, the Sea Shepherd vessel M/Y Ocean Warrior has arrived in Dar es Salaam to officially launch Operation Jodari, a campaign in partnership with the government of the United Republic of Tanzania to tackle illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing in the Western Indian Ocean region.

Liberia arrests high-tech poachers for illegal fishing and attempted briberyOn the 15th of January 2018, the Ghanaian-flagged Fishing Vessel (F/V) Panofi Fore Runner was arrested in waters belonging to the West African state of Liberia by the Liberian Coast Guard assisted by Sea Shepherd crew. The 71-meter long purse seine vessel was apprehended with nine fish aggregation devices (FADs) fishing in Liberian waters and without a Liberian Fishing License.

Operation GhostnetSea Shepherd UK (SSUK) announces our first campaign to remove hazardous ghostnets and other lost 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. Sea Shepherd UK’s Ghostnet Campaign will utilise our own highly experienced volunteer divers and our UK fleet of four Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) to survey sections of the UK’s coastline and recover as many nets and other lost gear as possible. Surveys have already been conducted around North Wales and the campaign will be rolled out into other areas as the appropriate permits for ghost gear retrieval have been granted to Sea Shepherd UK.

National Humboldt CampaignFrom January 27th to February 11th, Sea Shepherd Chile will conduct its sixth National Humboldt Campaign at Punta de Choros town, near the wonderful Choros and Damas Islands Marine Reserve. Located in Coquimbo Region, Chile, the Marine Reserve boasts high biodiversity and many species endemic to the region, making this precious marine area a very particular environment where we can find 57% of the world population of the Humboldt Penguin, and the southernmost resident Bottlenose Dolphins pod, among other amazing marine inhabitants.

Campaigns

Thanks to our generous supporters, passionate volunteers, and hard-working crew, in Sea Shepherd’s 40th year we conducted 25 direct-action marine conservation campaigns, more than all the campaigns from 1977-2000 combined! 

From the Antarctic and the Gulf of Guinea to the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of California, our worldwide fleet of eleven ships (and growing!) worked in partnership with local authorities to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, removed hundreds of kilometers of deadly fishing nets, and gathered evidence to help bring poachers to justice. Our on-shore campaigns protected endangered sea turtle nests, helped put an end to captive marine mammal breeding in France, and removed tons of dangerous marine debris from beaches around the world. Ongoing operations were conducted to stop the slaughter of dolphins in the Faroe Islands, shut down the salmon farms contaminating British Colombian waters, and put an end to the illegal transport of shark fins in Southeast Asia.

Click on the links below to learn more about each campaign:

  1. Operation Nemesis: 11th Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign
  2. Operation Albacore: Campaign to Stop Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing in Gabon
  3. Operation Sola Stella: Campaign to Stop Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing in Liberia
  4. Operation Siracusa: Campaign to Stop Poachers in the Plemmirio Marine Reserve, Italy (On-Shore)
  5. Operation Jairo Med: Turtle Defense Campaign in Italy (On-Shore and at Sea)
  6. Operation Nyamba: Sea Turtle Defense Campaign in Mayotte, France (On-Shore)
  7. Operation Apex Harmony - Timor Leste: IUU Fishing and Shark Defense Campaign in East Timor
  8. Baltic Sea Campaign: Harbor Porpoise Defense in the Baltic Sea
  9. Operation Pahu: Hector’s Dolphin Campaign in New Zealand
  10. Operation Jeedara: Great Australian Bight Defense Campaign, Australia
  11. Operation Humboldt: National Park Defense Campaign in Chile (On-Shore)
  12. Lac Leman Campaign: Swan Protection Campaign in Switzerland’s Leman Lake (On-Shore)
  13. Operation Mare Nostrum: Ghostnet Retrieval Campaign in the Mediterranean
  14. Operation Bloody Fjords: Pilot Whale and Dolphin Defense Campaign in the Faroe Islands (On-Shore)
  15. Operation Milagro: Vaquita Defense Campaign in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico (SSCS)
  16. Operation Apex Harmony: Shark Defense Campaign, Australia (On-Shore)
  17. Marine Debris: Worldwide Campaign to Reduce and Remove Marine Debris from the Oceans and Shores (On-Shore)
  18. Operation Virus Hunter: Contaminated Fish Farm Campaign in British Columbia (SSCS)
  19. Operation Ice Watch: Baby Seal Defense Campaign in Canada (On-Shore) (SSCS)
  20. Galapagos: Ongoing Campaign to Protect the Galapagos Marine Reserve (SSCS)
  21. Operation Good Pirates of the Caribbean: Hurricane Relief Operation in the Caribbean (SSCS)
  22. Operation Ghostnet: Ghost Net Retrieval Campaign in the Gulf of California, Mexico (SSCS)
  23. Cuvier's Beaked Whales Research: Marine Wildlife Campaign around Guadalupe Island, Mexico (SSCS)
  24. Operation Treasured Islands: Campaign to Protect Sharks in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (SSCS)
  25. Operation 404: Campaign to End Marine Mammal Captivity (On-Shore)

Watch the message from Sea Sepherd Global CEO Alex Cornelissen below, and help Sea Shepherd continue our mission to Defend, Conserve and Protect the oceans and marine wildlife in 2018 by making a donation today.

Arrest of poaching vessel shows shark liver oil production could drive species to extinction

The arrest of the internationally-blacklisted fishing vessel Labiko 2 by the Liberian Coast Guard, assisted by Sea Shepherd, gives insight into the shadowy and largely unregulated shark liver oil industry. After being kicked out of European waters, these unscrupulous owners and operators, mostly based out of Spain, have set their sights on West Africa.

Sea Shepherd assists the Liberian Coast Guard to board the Labiko 2. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
Sea Shepherd assists the Liberian Coast Guard to board the Labiko 2. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

In the mid-1990s, the largely Spanish-owned fleet of approximately 50 deep-water shark fishing boats wreaked havoc in the North East Atlantic Ocean. For almost ten years, these vessels crisscrossed the continental shelf off the United Kingdom with gillnets until the populations of deep-water sharks fell to 20% of their original numbers. Fisheries scientists estimate that the fleet’s combined length of net fishing at any one time was between 5,800 and 8,700 kilometers, the equivalent of stretching a net from Spain to the United States.

Deep-water sharks before livers are removed. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
Deep-water sharks before livers are removed. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

The activity of this fishing fleet, mostly based in Spain, was poorly documented, with little information provided to fisheries management on catch and by-catch. The discard of fishing nets at sea, both through unintentional loss as well as deliberate dumping, was common practice. Approximately 30 kilometers of gillnet was lost per vessel per 4-8 week fishing trip. These lost nets, also called ‘ghost nets’ can go on killing anything it “catches” for many years; they also equated to 750 tons of plastic pollution discarded at sea every month.

On board the Labiko 2, sharks are finned before their livers are processed into oil. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
On board the Labiko 2, sharks are finned before their livers are processed into oil. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

Both the amount of fishing gear used, and the high-level of lost gear, resulted in the deep-water shark populations plummeting.

As a result, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea declared a zero “total allowable catch” (TAC) for sharks in the North East Atlantic, in effect banning the taking of deep-water sharks. Deep-water shark fishing in both East Africa and India, had the same disastrous effect as in the North East Atlantic.

The discovery of a shark liver oil production facility on board the Labiko 2 in Liberia reveals that the shark plunderers have now come to West Africa.

Liberian Coast Guard sailor inspects shark liver production facility. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
Liberian Coast Guard sailor inspects shark liver production facility. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

When the Labiko 2 was boarded by the Liberian Coast Guard, assisted by Sea Shepherd, it was quickly uncovered that the vessel was not using longline fishing gear as per their license, but rather prohibited deep-water gillnets, and that these gillnets were being used to target deep-water sharks. It was further discovered that the vessel, under its previous name ‘Maine’, was on the international blacklists of three regional fisheries management organizations. When applying for its fishing license in Liberia, the Labiko 2 had submitted what is known within fisheries enforcement as a ‘trojan horse application’, namely an application to conduct a different fishery than intended in order to cloak the destructive impact of their actual activities.

The Liberian Coast Guard inspects the Labiko 2. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
The Liberian Coast Guard inspects the Labiko 2. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

“The owners and operators of the Labiko 2 conspired to circumvent the laws of Liberia, devastating the Liberian marine environment in the process. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again - the Republic of Liberia is not open for business to plunderers”, said Hon Brownie Samukai, Liberian Minister of National Defense.

Deep-water sharks killed for their fins and liver. Photo by Jake Parker/Sea Shepherd.
Deep-water sharks killed for their fins and liver. Photo by Jake Parker/Sea Shepherd.

On board the Labiko 2 was a shark liver oil production facility. From documents inspected onboard, previous fishing trips had yielded 40, 52 and 60 metric tons of shark liver oil. Forty metric tons of shark liver oil corresponds to approximately 53,000 dead sharks. An average fishing trip for the Labiko 2 was between 15/18 fishing days; meaning that the Labiko 2 was conservatively killing over 500,000 sharks per year.

Shark fetus removed from finned deep-water shark. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
Shark fetus removed from finned deep-water shark. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

Shark species are slow to grow, late to mature, and breed small numbers of offspring, and thus are particularly vulnerable to overfishing. As shown though cargo manifests found on board the Labiko 2, the shark liver oil production industry, because of the sheer number of sharks killed, has an environmental footprint that can wipe out a fishery in just years.

Endangered hammerhead sharks with their fins removed on board the Labiko 2. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
Endangered hammerhead sharks with their fins removed on board the Labiko 2. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

“The Labiko 2 is a floating environmental catastrophe and the Liberian Coast Guard and Sea Shepherd have saved hundreds of thousands of sharks through the arrest of this notorious poacher. It is now incumbent upon Liberia to take strong legal action against the Labiko 2 to ensure that populations of sharks in Liberia do not meet the same fate as deep-water sharks did in Europe, East Africa and India”, said Sea Shepherd Director of Campaigns Peter Hammarstedt.

Watch the video: "Poacher killed half a million sharks for liver oil"

Sea Shepherd assists the Liberian Coast Guard to board the Labiko 2 as heavy rain falls. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
Sea Shepherd assists the Liberian Coast Guard to board the Labiko 2 as heavy rain falls. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
Sea Shepherd assists the Liberian Coast guard to arrest the Labiko 2. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.
Sea Shepherd assists the Liberian Coast guard to arrest the Labiko 2. Photo by Melissa Romao/Sea Shepherd.

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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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